Table of Contents
Lifestyle & Daily Routine for HealthandLongevity
Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion
Purify Your 7 Tissues for Better Health and Energy
The 3 Doshas and Your Health
Balance Your Subdoshas for Greater Healing Power
Maharishi Ayurveda Herbal Preparations
Practical Application of your Ayurvedic Program
Herbalized Oil Massage—Secret of Youthful Skin
Exercise According to Your Constitutional Type
Beauty and Skin Care
Disclaimer: The information in this booklet is intended for educational purposes only. It is NOT for the use in the diagnosis,
prevention or cure of any disease. The information in this booklet is given for educational purposes only and should not replace
the advice of your physician. Before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine please check with your own personal
physician. This booklet does not take the place of a medical consultation and all recommendations should be checked with your
health care provider to ensure suitability for you. The statements in this booklet regarding products have not been evaluated by
the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your
needs and address them effectively.
Introduction from Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.
In this booklet I have drawn upon all my experience of the last 17 years, including more than ten
thousand patient visits, to structure a practical, effective introduction to the healing principles of
Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM. Getting healthy requires self-effort. This booklet is for those who
wish to take more control of their health in their day to day life. If you are ready to be proactive
for your health, then you are ready for Ayurveda. I believe this booklet will provide you with the
knowledge you are searching for to naturally and systematically fulfill your health goals.
There are two principles that guided me in organizing this Ayurvedic knowledge for you.
1. The knowledge must relate to your personal life at every step.
Each section is personalized for you through questionnaires that help you assess your state of
balance or health, and shows you how that aspect of Ayurvedic knowledge can deeply influence
your health and well-being. Once you understand your symptoms more deeply, and what lifestyle
factors are causing them, it is easier to make changes. I feel it is important to have personal
questionnaires at each step to inspire you to move away from the symptoms of imbalance and
toward the experience of health.
2. The knowledge must sequentially lead you through steps of regaining health that I would
use if you were a client in my office
Many books on Ayurveda overwhelm readers with too much information, provided in a sequence
that is not practical for implementation in daily life. My patients have educated me over the years
as to what recommendations have priority and how much a person can reasonably do in his or her
I wish I could meet all of you in person and develop a personal professional relationship with
you. That not being possible in most cases, I feel this booklet is the best attempt I can make to
share this health-giving knowledge with as many people as possible. I am glad you are a seeker
of health and wish you the greatest success in your endeavor to live the happiest, healthiest life
Wishing you the best of health!
Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.
Note: To receive Dr. Lonsdorf's FREE monthly newsletter and
announcements of her consultation and seminar tours to your area provide
your e-mail address by clicking here.
Health is won or lost in how we live day-to-day life. It is our patterns of eating, sleeping, work,
exercise and what we do to rejuvenate ourselves daily that determines whether we stay healthy or
fall sick and how gracefully we age.
Health is a choice. We are creating anew our physiology with every action we perform
throughout the day. We cannot live a life of health mistakes that create imbalance and then
expect our doctor to save us with a "magic bullet" from his drug armamentarium. Imbalances,
symptoms and diseases grow from seed form into gross pathology over many years. They are
caused by unhealthy choices made day after day. To remove the problem we just cannot avoid
having to address its true cause-lifestyle.
Even modern medicine is now recognizing that lifestyle and diet are the key to prevention of
disease and can actually reverse many disorders. Studies on osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease
and mental function are showing in many cases that diet and lifestyle outperform the top drug
therapies while creating many side-benefits instead of side-effects. I believe that as modern
science continues it's investigation over time it will increasingly find that fundamentals of
Ayurvedic daily routine discussed in this chapter are the true fundamentals for prevention of
disease and restoration of health.
While some of the terms may seem new to you at first as you continue with the booklet you will
quickly see how powerful the Ayurvedic description of physiology can be for helping you
determine what imbalance you have and what to do about it.
Following is our first questionnaire on Lifestyle and Daily Routine. I highly recommend you
spend three to five minutes and check yes/no answers to the questions. Each of the questions
addresses a behavior and lifestyle choice that has significant health ramifications. The "yes"
answers are the right answers from an Ayurvedic perspective so you can see the "no" answers
you have and quickly pinpoint the areas for focus and improvement. I suggest you mark your
answers in pencil so you can come back time and again, turn "no's" into "yes's" and document
your progress while reminding yourself of the areas you could still improve. Remember, every
aspect of daily routine that you improve will bring you greater energy and mental clarity, a more
positive mood and will help resolve any symptoms you may have. The discussion of daily routine
that follows is sequenced to match the items in the questionnaire for your easy reference.
Lifestyle and Daily Routine Questionnaire
Yes answers reflect healthy behaviors from the Ayurvedic perspective. Target the behaviors you
respond "no" to and keep changing you lifestyle to lessen the "no" answers.
The last columns contain information as to what the "no" behavior is aggravating. Vata, Pitta,
Kapha or Ama. A "Y" in the column means that principle is aggravated by a "no" answer. A * by
the letter means the unhealthy effect is very strong. If as you go through the booklet you find you
have the symptoms of imbalance in Vata, Pitta, Kapha or Ama you can return to this chart and by
looking in the appropriate column you can see which behaviors it is most important for you to
focus on to remove the imbalance.
Do you lie down in bed
to sleep before 10:00
Do you AVOID
activities that activate
the mind like watching
TV or reading in the 45
minutes before you start
Do you only use natural
fabric sleeping clothes
Do you go to bed at
about the same time
Is your bedroom only
used for sleeping i.e. do
you avoid working or
watching TV in the
Do you take an evening
walk after dinner?
Do you normally awake
before 6:00 AM?
Do you usually have a
bowel movement within
1 hour of awakening?
Do you drink any water
Do you clean the tongue
in the morning during
or after brushing your
Do you perform any
type of self-massage in
Do you perform yoga in
Do you perform
breathing techniques) in
Do you meditate in the
Do you exercise or take
a walk in the morning?
Do you wear natural
Is your breakfast lighter
and less quantity than
Do you AVOID meat
and eggs at breakfast?
Do you eat lunch
between 12:00 and 1:00
Do you normally eat
lunch at the same time
Do you usually have
warm, cooked food at
Do you usually take
one-half hour or longer
Is lunch your largest
and most balanced meal
of the day?
Do you have at least 1015 minutes after you
finish your actual eating
at lunch before you
have to start work?
Do you finish work by
Do you practice asanas
after work and before
Do you practice
pranayama after work
and before dinner?
Do you meditate after
work and before
Do you start the evening
meal before 6:30?
Do you eat the evening
meal at roughly the
same time each day?
Do you AVOID meat,
cheese and yogurt in the
Do you AVOID dessert
in the evening meal?
Is your evening meal
Do you walk for at least
10 minutes in the
evening after dinner?
Do you pay attention to
eat according to your
hunger level and not eat
if not hungry?
Do you eat to about 3/4
capacity and NOT feel
stuffed after eating?
Do you eat at
approximately the same
times each day?
Do you usually avoid
taking food other than
fruit or drinks for three
hours after eating?
Do you eat a balanced
diet with wide variety
Do you eat in a settled
environment and avoid
reading, watching TV,
standing up or driving
Do you AVOID cold
drinks while eating?
Do you continue to sit
for at least 5 minutes
after eating before
Do you chew your food
Do you only drink milk
with grains or foods
having the sweet taste
and AVOID taking milk
with raw fruits,
vegetables, meat, fish,
sour food and eggs?
Do you avoid leftovers
that have been placed in
Do you avoid frozen
and processed food?
Do you mainly eat fresh
food that's freshly
Do you drink fresh fruit
and vegetable juices?
Do you avoid food that
has honey cooked in it?
Do you eat mainly
Do you AVOID using a
Do you AVOID
skipping meals and
going hungry for long
periods of time?
Do you AVOID
urges like bowel
Are you mainly
vegetarian? (avoid red
meat, fowl, fish and
If you are vegetarian do
you have plenty of dairy
products in your diet?
Do you avoid caffeine
beverages like coffee
and soft drinks?
Do you avoid the
regular use of laxatives?
Do you avoid candy and
Do you AVOID having
lunches of salad only?
Do you AVOID
Do you drink 3-4
glasses of room
temperature or warm
water throughout the
Do you usually AVOID
eating cold foods?
Do you mainly use olive
oil, as your cooking oil?
Do you AVOID
cooking oils at high
Do you AVOID
cooking with aluminum
Do you eat out at
restaurants less than
twice a week?
Do you take an early
Do you walk daily for at
least one-half hour?
Do you have three or
more periods a week
with an hour or more of
exercise more strenuous
STOP exercising before
you start to feel
exhausted and sweat
Orientation to the
Is the main entrance to
your house facing the
North or East direction.
Is the main entrance to
your office facing the
North or East direction.
Does the top of your
head face East or South
when you sleep?
(imagine an arrow
pointing from your toes
to the top of your head
to determine this
Do you face East or
North when you sit at
your desk for work?
Can you AVOID
working night shifts?
Can you AVOID
working all day in front
of a computer?
Can you AVOID
working in an
environment with toxic
Does the space you
work in have windows
that can be opened?
Are you able to be more
restful on the days of
your menstrual period?
Do you eat lighter foods
grains, fruits and
legumes and less meat,
cheese, sugar and cold
drinks) during the days
of menstrual flow?
Following is a chart that sequentially describes an ideal daily routine from morning through
evening. This chart is a reference to what an ideal routine of life would be. If your life if far from
the ideal, don't despair! Small changes in the right direction can make a world of difference.
Your responsibilities may not allow you to adopt many of these habits at this time, but even one
or two can be very helpful. Lifestyle changes take time but the most important thing is to take the
first step. Pick the areas that you feel are most do-able or most important to your health and
start there. A balanced routine and the increased vitality it imparts are an elixir of life. Feeling
better day-by will be your continual motivator as you move toward a healthier lifestyle.
Ideal Daily Routine Description
To Bed by 10:00 PM. The Day Starts the Evening Before!
Arise before 6 AM
Evacuate bowels and bladder
Clean teeth, scrape tongue
Abhyanga (Appendix 1)
Bath or shower
Sun salutations and/or asanas and pranayama
Wear clean, comfortable, natural fabric clothing
Light breakfast followed by morning work or study
Warm cooked lunch with all six tastes
Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk
Afternoon work or study
Sun salutations and/or asanas and Pranayama
Early, light evening meal
Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk
Pleasant, relaxing activity
To bed before 10 PM with natural fabric clothing and bedding
Proper diet and eating behavior
Take Maharishi Amrit Kalash Rasayanas AM & PM
Diet and exercise according to season
Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM consultation
Maharishi RejuvenationSM therapy
Doshas and times of day
10:00 -2:00 AM &PM
Heightened digestive strength at day
and metabolic cleansing at night
Largest meal around 12:30PM
Sleep by 10:00 PM for metabolic
cleansing of impurities
6:00 - 10:00 AM &PM
2:00 -6:00 AM &PM
Tendency for physical heaviness
and mental slowness
Tendency for mental alertness AM&PM
but possibly tiredness by afternoon
Morning: Be awake before
Kapha time, Exercise,
Evening: Meal, walk, pleasant
Sequence of Daily Routine
The day starts the night before
Every organism in nature has a rest cycle. During rest, the energy and attention of the organism is
freed from outer activity and can focus on internal balancing and healing. Making the most of
this healing time is the foundation of good health. If this regeneration period is disturbed,
imbalance and eventually sickness result.
According to Ayurveda, when you start your eight hours of sleep makes a difference. Sleep
research shows that those who work the night shift and sleep during the day are more prone to a
number of health disorders, including insomnia, digestive problems, heart attacks and breast
cancer. But even lesser diversion from the usual human sleep pattern can make a difference.
Have you ever noticed how you feel extra sluggish the day after a late night and sleeping in, even
though you got your usual number of hours of sleep? It also can work in your favor. An NIH
study once found that many depressed individuals can achieve a remission from their symptoms
simply by shifting their bedtime and getting up times forward, for example, going to bed by 8:30
PM and getting up by 3:30 or 4 AM.
Ayurveda states that the start of the activity affects the nature of the rest of the activity, according
to the expression "well begun is half done." Accordingly, Ayurveda predicts the greatest benefits
from sleep that starts in the time when the body is dominated by the qualities of Kapha dosha,
between 6 and10 PM. Kapha is the heavy, grounding, inert principle in nature. Going to sleep in
Kapha time supports easily falling asleep and having a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep
throughout the night.
Also, if we are in bed by 10:00 PM we will be sleeping during Pitta time (10:00 PM–2:00AM,)
when the body is in its active "Pitta mode" of metabolism, cleansing the blood and skin of toxins
and impurities. If awake, that metabolic activity provokes hunger and the proverbial "midnight
snack." Unfortunately, this habit interferes with the body's cleansing cycle and also tends to pack
Reading, watching TV, working on the computer and other wakeful activities after 10 PM also
put stress on the eyes and nervous system, using energy that would otherwise go for rejuvenation
and accelerating the aging process. For the most rejuvenating beauty sleep, get your 8 hours
starting before 10 PM. You'll not only feel more fresh and energetic, but you'll see the difference
in your face in the morning.
*Note: A full discussion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha will be provided in Chapter 3.
When we go to bed by 10:00 PM we have the greatest chance of awakening early and having the
necessary time to do the rest of our full daily routine. This is why the day starts the evening
before and proper bedtime is the foundation for the next day’s activity.
Other important ways to support good sleep are:
1) Do not engage in activities that activate the mind or body in the hour before going to bed. i.e.
watching TV, reading or vigorous exercise.
2) Use natural fabric like wool and cotton for your sleeping garments and bedding. These fabrics
breathe and create the proper environment for your physiology both during sleep and in activity.
3) Go to sleep about the same time each evening. Regularity of routine is important to balance
Vata and imbalanced Vata is the source of insomnia for most people
4) Only use your bedroom for sleeping. To promote the most conducive environment for rest, do
not watch TV, work or exercise in your bedroom
5) Take a walk in the evening after dinner. A walk in the settled atmosphere of Kapha time,
between 6-10 PM, allows the body and mind to deeply absorb the gentle, peaceful and relaxed
Kapha influence, promoting a deep and uninterrupted sleep.
Awake before 6 AM
It is recommended to awaken before 6 A.M. Since we do not want to strain or use alarm clocks to
do this, going to bed before 10 PM is usually necessary so that the body is fully rested and ready
to go by 6 AM.
The period before 6 AM is the time when all of nature is awakening and Vata dosha is most
enlivened in the environment. Vata controls the nervous system and our level of alertness.
Remember the principle of "well begun is half done?" If we start our day in Vata time our mind
will experience more of the qualities of balanced Vata throughout the day – increased energy,
clarity, intelligence and alertness.
On the other hand, if we sleep past 6 AM, we are sleeping into the Kapha time of day. For
example, sleeping until 7:30 involves 1 1/2 hours of sleep during Kapha time, imbibing the body
with the qualities of excess Kapha – dullness, heaviness and lethargy. Not exactly how we want
to feel at the start of the day and exactly why so many people don't feel they can function until
they've had their expresso! Sleep after 6 AM day after day, year after year and a Kapha imbalance
can build up, causing symptoms such as sinus congestion, fluid retention, weight gain,
headaches, joint aches and stiffness, and (perhaps worst of all) bags under the eyes!
It is beneficial to have elimination in the morning. To help evacuate the bowels and bladder and
create a cleansing influence in the physiology drink a glass of fresh, warm or room temperature
water upon awakening. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a half teaspoon of raw honey to kick
start your digestion and metabolism for the day.
Cleansing the mouth and teeth
In addition to brushing the teeth it is recommended to cleanse the tongue. This can be done by
brushing the tongue with your toothbrush or ideally using a stainless steel or silver tongue scraper
to scrape any white film or coating off the tongue. A coating on the tongue in the morning is a
sign that your body is not fully eliminating toxins and impurities. Scraping the tongue not only
freshens the mouth and breath, but stimulates the digestion and metabolism of residual wastes in
the body, according to Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic herbalized oil massage: Abhyanga
Daily morning Ayurvedic oil massage is one of the most powerful rejuvenation regimens one can
add to their daily routine.
The motion and pressure of the massage create heat and friction and help to loosen up impurities,
improve circulation and enliven the body. The quality of the oil is also important as it is being
massaged into the entire surface area of the body and is being absorbed. The proper oils and
herbs create a cleansing and nourishing influence throughout the body and help keep the skin
youthful and supple.
Ayurvedic oil massage is especially good at removing Vata imbalance, the usual cause of
weakness, anxiety and fatigue. Most people report feeling much stronger, emotionally smooth
and balanced throughout the day as a result of their morning abhyanga.
*See appendix 1 for a full discussion of how to do abhyanga and what massage oil to use.
Asanas and/or sun salutations
After the bath or shower it is highly recommended to go through a three part sequence of
practicing yoga asanas, pranayama (yogic breathing technique) and meditation (I highly
recommend the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique). Although each of these practices
are valuable alone, when used in this sequence each step prepares you to gain even greater effects
from the following ones.
Asanas and sun salutations help remove stiffness and heaviness in the body and are an aid in
increasing circulation and flexibility. Improving flexibility removes surface fatigue and stress and
helps reconnect the physiology with its inner intelligence. Wherever there is stiffness or hardness
in the body it indicates that part of the body is losing contact with circulation and the nervous
system. When this happens the fertile ground for disease has been created in the affected tissues.
Maintaining a high level of flexibility in the body through asanas and sun salutations is a vital
pillar of good health.
Yoga asanas postures are also excellent for this but should be learned from qualified instructors
for proper technique and the correct sequence of postures. Maharishi Vedic Schools and
Maharishi Vedic Medical Centers can be found in many major cities and teach excellent courses
in Yoga asanas. Call 1-888-Learn-TM or connect to www.tm.org for the center nearest you.
Pranayama (Ayurvedic breathing exercises)
Pranayama is practiced after asanas or sun salutations. Pranayama further purifies and refines the
functioning of the body and also helps remove dullness and fatigue. The best source of
pranayama instruction is through Maharishi Vedic Schools and Maharishi Vedic Medical
Centers. Qualified instructors of the TM technique can also instruct you in the proper practice of
pranayama after TM instruction.
Asanas and pranayama sequentially remove surface fatigue and tension thereby preparing the
mind and body to gain the most from the meditation period.
Eyes closed meditation (ideally the TM technique)
I respect the fact that many individuals are already practicing some type of meditation daily,
enjoy their technique and benefiting from it. However, I do highly recommend the TM program
and encourage everyone to hear an introductory lecture on the TM technique so they gain the
information that would allow them to make the most informed choice for their personal
Maharishi Ayurveda describes the twice-daily practice of the TM technique as the single most
powerful healing recommendation available. The benefits of the TM technique have been
scientifically validated in over 600 published research studies in a variety of medical and
scientific journals including the American Journal of Cardiology, the American Heart
Association's Stroke, and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. During the 20 minute TM practice
the body experiences a state of deep rest characterized by more orderly brain functioning and
increased mental awareness. Regular TM practice helps the body throw off deep stress and
fatigue, improves mental functioning and is an ideal preparation for the activity of the day. The
TM technique is also an authentic, Vedic technique for the development of higher states of
consciousness and the full health potential of the physiology.
For more information on the TM technique, please check out the TM web site at
http://www.tm.org/or call 1-888-Learn-TM to be connected to the center closest to you.
Exercise helps cleanse the body, improves circulation and increases mind-body coordination.
Exercise is recommended daily in the morning when the sun is rising and the air is cool and
fresh. We encourage people not to exercise to the point of exhaustion as the effect can be to
create stress and strain and thereby be more damaging than helpful.
*See appendix 2 for more detailed information on the Ayurvedic approach to exercise.
Natural fabric clothing
Maharishi Ayur-Veda recommends natural fabric clothing as the most suitable attire for the
health of the body. Natural fabrics breathe and do not disturb the subtle energy fields of the
physiology. Cotton, wool, silk and rayon are the preferred fabrics. It is strongly recommend that
people do not wear polyester clothes of any kind.
Digestion is not as strong at breakfast compared to lunch so food should be lighter and easier to
digest in the morning. Stewed apples, raisins that have been stewed or soaked overnight, ripe
sweet juicy fruits, hot milk, medjool dates and mixed grains cooked in water are examples of
items that are nourishing and appropriate for most people at breakfast. It is best to avoid meats,
eggs and cheese at breakfast.
Please follow the advice of your medical doctor regarding any changes in your diet.
Digestion is strongest during the middle of the day when we are most active and the heat element
in nature, the sun, is strongest. This enlivens the heat element within our bodies, Pitta, which is
responsible for digestion and metabolism. Therefore, the largest meal of the day should be lunch,
taken between 12:00 noon and 1:30 PM, when digestion is strongest.
Because lunch is the main meal of the day we should put the most attention and planning into it.
Ideally, lunch should be a warm, cooked meal with all six tastes. Warm or room temperature
liquids should be sipped with the meal to aid secretion of digestive juices and absorption of food.
Avoid cold drinks and ice water during meals as they greatly depress digestion.
Lunch should be eaten in a comfortable environment while sitting down. Since it is the most
important meal of the day we should try to have at least one-half hour for lunch. At the end of the
meal we should continue to sit for at least ten minutes to let the digestion get off to a good start.
Many people have made great strides in improving their digestion, and how they feel in the
afternoon, by adding this 10 minute rest period to the end of lunch.
This rest period is appropriate not just at lunch but anytime we eat. We should always try to sit
for at least 5-10 minutes before we get up from the table. After this rest period it is recommended
to walk at least 3-5 minutes before returning to our afternoon activities.
Asanas, pranayama and meditation
After the work of the day, but some time before the evening meal, it is again recommended to go
through the three-part sequence of asanas, pranayama, and meditation. In order to accomplish
this and start dinner before 6:30 it is ideal to be able to end work by 5:00 PM
By investing in this after-work rejuvenation period to remove accumulated stress, to develop
consciousness and to increase mind-body coordination, we have a much better chance to grow
healthier day by day instead of becoming more tired and imbalanced as time goes on.
During the evening digestion is not as strong. Additionally, soon we will be lying down to sleep
which will slow digestion and circulation even more. For this reason it is better to eat a smaller
quantity of food and less heavy, hard to digest foods at night. Most people should avoid heavy
meats, cheeses, desserts and yogurt in the evening.
One of the main reasons people develop a buildup of toxins and heaviness in the body is that they
eat large evening meals, which they cannot fully digest, and then lie dormant in sleep for many
hours. Avoiding large meals in the evening is one of the most important practices for
maintaining good health and normalizing weight.
If you are over 40 and overweight, light evening meals may be the single most crucial
recommendation for getting your weight under control!
Since digestion is stronger in the early evening it is better to have dinner between 5:30 and 7:00
rather than later. The later we eat the less we should eat. If we eat later we should have light, easy
to digest foods like soups and we should avoid heavy foods. Again sitting at the table for 5-10
minutes and then taking a walk (at least 100 steps, according to the ancient texts!) is
recommended after eating the evening meal.
Pleasant relaxing activity is ideal for the evening. Strenuous or exciting mental and/or physical
activity in the evening could make it more difficult to fall asleep. Since Kapha, the heavy, dull
element is strongest in nature between 6:00 and 10:00 PM an evening walk is recommended. Not
only does this aid digestion, it also allows the mind and body to absorb the deeply restful
qualities of Kapha that are enlivened outdoors. This will help promote a good night's sleep.
To sleep before 10 PM
To gain maximum rejuvenation from sleep it is recommended to go to bed before 10:00 PM.
Remember, the day starts the evening before with the quality and quantity of sleep we get.
Additional Daily Routine Recommendations
Drinking warm or room temperature water throughout the day
Most everyone can benefit from drinking water frequently throughout the day. This provides a
daily cleansing of the digestive tract. It also keeps the channels of circulation open and helps the
body eliminate impurities. The water should not be cold, rather room temperature or warmer. The
most cleansing water is hot water that was boiled for 10 minutes before placing in a thermos. Be
sure to take the extra time for this if you are trying to lose weight or have digestive problems.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash® Rasayana
Rasayanas are Ayurvedic herbal preparations that have general, overall balancing and nourishing
effects for people of all constitutions.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) is the premier rasayana in Maharishi Ayurveda, and consists of
two formulas, "Ambrosia" and "Nectar." Scientific research has found the MAK formulas to be
exceptionally high in antioxidant, free radical scavenging activity, with 1000 times the effects of
vitamins C or E (Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 1992, Vol 43, pp1175-1182.)
The MAK rasayanas are usually taken twice a day, morning and evening.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash is in my experience the single most powerful Ayurvedic herbal
preparation available today. It can be used by virtually all body types and constitutions. If
you wish to take an Ayurvedic herbal formula, I would recommend MAK as the foundation of
your herbal program. (Note: please be sure to check with your health care provider before starting
any herbal supplements.)
Maharishi Amrit Kalash is available through Maharishi Ayurveda Products International at
Ayurvedic Seasonal Routines
Diet and the Seasons
1. Pitta Season: Summer
Because the hot, warm weather of summer increases Pitta within the body, we should adjust our
diet to favor foods that pacify (decrease) Pitta. Eat more cool foods, cool drinks and foods with
sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Include the fresh, sweet, fruits and vegetables that grow in this
season. Take fewer foods with pungent, sour and salty tastes. Eat less of the following foods:
yogurt, cheese, tomatoes, vinegar and hot spices. (Please note “cool” does not mean cold.)
2. Vata Season: Winter
The cold, dry weather of winter increases Vata and we should follow a more Vata pacifying diet
at this time. Favor warm food and drinks, heavier foods and more unctuous (oily) foods. Eat
more of the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Avoid dry and cold foods and cold drinks. Eat fewer
foods with pungent, bitter or astringent tastes.
3. Kapha Season: Spring
The cold, wet weather of spring increases Kapha, therefore we should follow a more Kapha
balancing diet. Favor a diet that is lighter and less unctuous (oily). Favor warm foods and drinks.
Eat more foods with the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and fewer foods with the sweet, sour
and salty tastes.
Exercise and the Seasons
Since exercise is most appropriate at Kapha periods more exercise is recommended in spring.
In summer it is important not to become overheated. Therefore less exercise, and exercise taken
at cooler times of the day in early morning, is recommended. To keep Pitta in balance it is
important not to overexert in the hot sun.
Seasonal MAHARISHI REJUVENATION Therapy
After the body has been functioning for 4 months in the specific climatic conditions of any of the
seasons it builds up the toxins and impurities that come from functioning in that climate.
One of the main reasons people fall sick at the change of seasons is due to this accumulation of
impurities from the past season and the body having the extra challenge of adjusting to a new
Maharishi Vedic Medicine recommends cleansing the body of accumulated toxins and blockages
at the change of seasons through Maharishi Rejuvenation Therapy, the revival of the authentic
practice of the "Panchakarma" treatments of Ayurveda.
*See appendix 4 for a discussion of the panchakarma program at The Raj, the oldest and largest
in-residence panchakarma center in North America.
Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion
Without proper diet, medicine is of no use.
With proper diet, medicine is of no need.
— ancient Ayurvedic proverb
A. Fundamentals of Healthy Eating Behavior
How we digest and assimilate our food is just as important as what we eat. If digestion is
disturbed, even the best diet will not provide proper nutrition. The following points include a
variety of recommendations to aid in the most complete digestion of food.
Eat according to your hunger level. Avoid eating when not hungry and do not delay eating
Eat at approximately the same time every day.
Don't eat too quickly or too slowly.
Do not overeat. Eat to about 3/4 capacity. Do not leave the table very hungry or very full.
Allow 3 – 6 hours between meals. Do not eat before the previous meal is properly
Eat a balanced meal with all six tastes. (see chapter 3)
Eat sitting down and in a settled environment. Do not read, watch TV or drive while
Sip warm or room temperature liquids during the meal. This enlivens digestion and helps
the food be better dissolved and absorbed. Do not take ice cold liquids and foods with a
meal as they suppress digestion.
Sit comfortably for five to ten minutes after finishing the meal. This allows the digestive
process to get well underway. If you immediately jump up from the meal, digestion will
be disrupted and the food will be improperly processed.
Chew the food well. Digestion starts in the mouth.
Milk should be taken alone or with other sweet tastes. Milk should not be taken with
vegetables, meat, fish, sour foods, salt or eggs.
Eat fresh foods freshly prepared. Avoid leftovers.
Avoid artificial foods, colors and preservatives.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are recommended as part of your daily diet.
Honey should not be heated in any way such as by cooking, baking or by adding it to hot
beverages. Ayurvedic theory says that when heated honey is ingested it creates a toxic
effect in the body. It can be added to tea or hot milk once the beverage has cooled down
to body temperature.
Eat organic food whenever possible. Strictly avoid genetically engineered or genetically
Do not use a microwave as it can aggravate Vata in the food.
Ayurveda recommends a vegetarian diet as ideal but if you have been eating meat for
many years the transition should be made gradually with great attention placed on having
a balanced diet and enough milk products to get the proper amount of vitamin B12.
For the best health it is good to AVOID the following
a) avoid snacks containing refined sugar. Have sweet juicy fruits, dried fruits, hot milk
alone or with spices, dates, nuts and other wholesome foods instead.
b) avoid lunches of only raw salad. Raw vegetables are not a balanced diet at lunch, the
most important meal of the day. Raw vegetables are too Vata aggravating to be eaten as
the only item on the menu at lunch.
c) avoid carbonated beverages. They aggravate Vata being filled with air and destroy the
foundation of "ojas", the chemical that contributes most to the immunity and vigor of the
d) avoid cold foods. Cold food depresses digestion and clogs the physiology.
e) avoid caffeine. Caffeine is very aggravating to Vata and Pitta and can significantly
imbalance the physiology with overuse.
Major principles of Ayurvedic Diet and Food Preparation
Eat fresh food freshly prepared.
Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods
Cook foods more slowly on lower heat to take them through all the proper
transformations of cooking.
Basic Qualities of Foods
Avoid frozen, processed foods.
Use organic food. Avoid genetically engineered food.
Use ripe foods. Avoid unripe fruits.
Avoid leftovers. Don’t eat leftovers out of the refrigerator as they are hard to digest and
clogging to the physiology
C. Use of Spices in Food Preparation
There are two factors involved in proper nourishment. The first is to start with the proper food
(organic, whole foods freshly prepared) and the second is to help Agni (the digestion,
metabolism and tissue development processes) be maximally strong. Spices are the key to the
second factor- transforming food into healthy tissue. For this reason the heavier foods you eat the
more necessary it is to have proper spicing. Diets high in nutrition dense foods (fats, sweets,
meat, desserts) require spicing or they will quickly lead to excess heaviness and clogging of the
How to Buy, Store and Prepare Spices
Because may of the active ingredients in spices are aromatic it is important to buy whole seeds
rather than ground powders. When spices are ground in the factory they loose a lot of the
aromatic compounds and continue to loose more as time goes by. Storing the spices in tightly
closed glass containers helps the seeds maintain their potency. Seeds can be turned into powders
right at the cooking time by places combinations in a spice grinder.
Spices also need help from heat to bring out their best qualities. Spices should be sautéed in oil
or dry fried (placed in a frying pan that has no oil in it) before use. Normally you should add the
seeds first to sautéing and then add the powders. Don't turn your back on the sautéing process as
spices can burn easily.
Properties of Specific Spices
Salt is one of the 6 basic tastes and some salt is needed in the diet. Ayurveda has very specific
recommendations regarding the ideal way to incorporate salt into food. Salt should be cooked
into the watery portion of dishes. This is better than sprinkling it on at the table or sauteeing it
with spices. Instead add it to soups while they are cooking or on top of vegetables while they are
Our bodies need many minerals besides sodium and chloride so use natural rock and sea salts
whenever possible. Black salt has sulfur in it crating an unusual taste but it has a powerful
stimulating effect on digestion.
Pepper is part of the fascinating story of the relationship between spices, oils and brain
physiology. Pepper helps carry nutrition across the blood brain barrier. Since the brain is over
50% fat it is nourished most by high quality oils. Sauteeing fresh ground pepper into organic
extra virgin olive oil or ghee is recommended for rain nourishment.
Pepper is very stimulating to digestion and the cleansing aspects of metabolism. However,
pepper is quite heating and potentially Pitta aggravating in nature and must be used sparingly
with attention paid toward your personal experience with it.
C. Fresh, Green Herbs
Fresh green herbs, often though of as the Italian spices, have wonderful taste and excellent
physiological properties but most are quite heat sensitive and should be added toward end of the
cooking process. I recommend to always purchase the fresh green leaves from the produce
section of grocery stores rather than using the dry spices in bottles in the spice section.
1) Basil, has a purifying, holistic and uplifting influence (called "sattvic" in Vedic terms) on the
mind. It also has an influence on immunity and cleansing of the chest area. If a person has
chronic cough and cold the fresh leaves may be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea
throughout the day.
2) Cilantro is the leaf of the plant that gives us coriander seed. It is very heat sensitive so
traditionally chopped cilantro is added to dahl soups when they are taken off the heat at the end
of the cooking process.
D. Sweet Spices
Sweet foods like desserts are high in nutritional content but are so carbohydrate dense that they
need help from spices to cut the heaviness and strengthen the bodies digestion and assimilation.
The "sweet" spices not only make our desserts taste wonderful but have an important
physiological effect as well.
1) Cardomon is mostly used with milk products (lassi, solid indian milk desserts like barfy and
hot milk) to reduce the mucous effect and help digestion.
2) Clove is especially effective at helping the Agni (fire of digestion and metabolism) get going
at the beginning of the day. I often recommend that people have some stewed fruit at breakfast
cooked with several cloves. The cloves enliven Agni over 3-5 hours and help digestion and
metabolism be strong by lunch, which should be the heaviest meal of the day.
3) Cinnamon is prized for its ability as a transporter of nutrition to the tissues. It helps the body
assimilate the building blocks of nutrition found in rich foods.
4) Saffron also helps build up the physiology. It strengthens all the tissues and has a particularly
powerful effect on reproductive tissue and has been used to enhance fertility When saffron is
added to a rice pudding with its milk, rice, raisins, cashews and sugar a powerful nourishing food
for people with thin and wasting conditions is created.
E. Indian Spices
The traditional "Indian" spices are best known for their ability to increase digestion and
metabolism. They are mostly pungent and have the ability to decrease Kapha (heaviness) and
1) Ginger is the most favored of all Ayurvedic appetizers. It has a powerful effect on digestion
but is not as heating as other pungent spices though you could still overdo it. Buy fresh ginger in
the produce section (not the powdered ginger in bottles), cut it up and sautee it in oil. It is the
most heat resistant of the spices we have mentioned so it can be added first to the sauteeing
2) Cumin is the other main Indian spice used to strengthen digestion. Dry fry cumin seeds or
sautee the seed or powder for best effect.
3) Hing or asofoetida is an excellent appetizer but needs to be used in small quantities due to its
powerful odor. Hing is often used as a substitute for onions and garlic in recipes. This is because
onions and garlic have a dulling effect on the mind and consciousness. Often people involved in
Ayurveda are also practicing meditation and consciousness development techniques and will
have better experiences if they leave onions and garlic out of their diet.
4) Coriander is the most cooling of all the spices that have a significant effect on enlievining
digestion and is a good spice for people high in Pitta.
5) Fennel has a good effect on preventing, indigestion and gas. It strengthens apana, the force
that controls the downward flow of food through the digestive tract and is also a good spice to
6) Fenugreek as a powerful effect on fat, sugar and carbohydrate metabolism and is often used
by people dealing with weight issues.
7) Turmeric is a very special spice as it is anti oxidant in its effect and helps cleanse all the
tissues. It is also astringent and has a drying effect on mucous membranes and can be used by
people suffering from colds and excess Kapha.
Properties and Cooking Recommendations for the Major Food
Grains are famous for being the staff of life. They are rich in carbohydrates, protein and even
high quality oils. To get the most from this food group be sure to have a wide variety of grains in
your diet. Don't just stick with rice and wheat but include highly nutritious grains like amaranth,
cous-cous, bulgar wheat, quinoa, millet and barley. Mixed grain dishes are especially nutritious
and are good at breakfast and lunch.
The risen, loaves of bread that are so popular in the West have a slightly clogging effect on the
physiology so if you have excess heaviness, slow digestion or elimination it is best to have less of
these breads. Instead favor the flat breads like chapatis. Of course the more refined and processed
the grains are the more likely they will also have this clogging effect, less roughage and also be
Grains are slightly drying in their effect and should be cooked with some oil. Barley has quite an
anti-kapha (heaviness and tissue buildup) effect in the body and is the best grain for individuals
interested in weight loss.
B. Oils and Spices
The most important of all food groups to get right in your diet are oils. Cardiovascular disease is
the number one disease in America and the incidence of overweight people in our society,
including children, is a major current topic for both the press and our legislators. A major
contributing factor in both overweight and cardiovascular disease is the improper digestion and
metabolism of oil in our diet.
Making the plot even more confusing is the fact that modern science is also increasingly
becoming aware of the good qualities of oil for our health, a fact Ayurveda has espoused for
thousands of years. The brain is over 50% fat and needs oils to be properly nourished. Studies are
ongoing as to the positive effects of alpha omega 3 oils in reducing the risks of alzheimers and
cardiovascular disease. This is a big change in the literature from 10 years ago when fat free diets
where being touted as an essential component for health. It seems oils can kill us and they can
make us more healthy. Which effect oils have depends on what oils we use and how we prepare
those oils in our cooking process.
Maharishi Ayurveda provides the theoretical knowledge of how to include oils in the diet and yet
not have them turn into excessive fat and cardiovascular degeneration. There are two things we
have to get right to have oils nourish us rather than hurt us. First we must start with the right oils.
Second we must cook the oils in a way that helps the body process these heavy and concentrated
According to Ayurveda the best oils to include in the diet are:
Ghee or "clarified butter" is made by bringing butter to a slow boil for 45-60 minutes and
scooping the precipitated milk solids off the top. In Ayurveda the nervous system tissue is called
"majja" and the food that nourishes majja best of all is ghee. However if you do have high
cholesterol or are overweight it is better to have olive oil be the main oil in your diet.
2) Olive oil
It is important to try to use extra virgin olive oil if possible. Extra virgin means there has only
been one pressing of the oil, virgin means there has been two pressings and if it doesn't say extra
virgin of virgin it could have been processed even more heavily.
3) Sesame oil
While nowhere near as essential as ghee and olive oil sesame oil has many beneficial effects. It is
very Vata pacifying so one recommendation is to have it be the oil used in the evening meal
where we want to settle the nervous system in preparation for sleep. However, sesame oil is quite
hot and potentially Pitta aggravating in its influence and should be used sparingly if you have an
unpleasant heating reaction to it.
Another major consideration in "what" oils we use is that it is very important to use organic oils.
Many pesticides are fat soluble and concentrate in the oils of the plants they are placed on. This
is especially an issue if you use corn or soybean oil (which we do not recommend anyway) as
these crops often have heavy pesticide use.
I also highly recommend using only organic oils because if the label does not say organic then the
seeds from which the plants come could have been genetically engineered. The current
custodians of Ayurveda, with their deep belief in the wisdom of nature and natural process, are
deeply concerned that genetically engineered foods could have many powerful, unhealthy side
effects if ingested in large quantities over years. In the natural world it is not allowed to mix the
genetic material of different species yet that is a common practice in genetically engineered
However, it is not enough to use only proper and pure oils in our diet. Oils also need to be
refined and transformed by the cooking process if they are to end up having a healthy effect in
our body. Ayurveda has two main recommendations here.
1) Cooks oils more slowly over lower heats.
Excessive heat can break the molecular bonds in oils turning them from slender molecules that
slip through tiny pores in our cells to large "tinker toy" like molecules that get stuck in pores and
clog the body. Heat also can bend and twist the backbone of oil molecules again increasing their
clogging properties. If your snowpeas explode when you drop them in your Wok then your oil is
definitely too hot.
This is especially an issue with olive oil which is very heat sensitive. Olive oil should be cooked
slowly over lower heats. This is also why it is so important to get one time pressed, extra virgin
olive oil, as each pressing increases the amount of heat the oil has been subjected to increasingly
disrupting its natural molecular geometry.
2) Sautee spices into oils.
It is our strength of Agni, the fire of digestion and metabolism, that determines whether even
good oils end up as fat or healthy tissues in our bodies. Sauteeing spices into the oil is the main
Ayurvedic technique to have Agni enhanced so the body properly processes the oil. Ayurveda is
clear that even good oils will be turned into fat and blockage in the body without proper
spices being cooked into the oils.
Ayurveda provides several recommendations to get the most taste and health benefit from our
1) Start with whole seeds instead of ground powders.
Most spices are aromatic in nature and much of their potency and taste is lost when they are
ground into powders causing their aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. Buy organic
spice seeds, store them in tight glass containers and grind them in a spice grinder right before
2) Spices need to be heated to bring out their properties
Spices can be placed directly in a frying pan and dry fried. However, the most potent way to
enliven the spices through heat is to sautee them in oil. Sauteeing spices in oil not only helps the
Agni of the body properly digest and metabolize the oil but it also can help the oil be carried
across the blood brain barrier where it can nourish the brain tissue. Black pepper is especially
helpful in carrying nutrition across the blood brain barrier.
Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians) have talked about how alzheimers, parkinsons, dementia and
other neurological disorders seen in Westerners in old age are due to "dry brain". As we become
older, Vata increases in the body causing it to lose its lubrication and dry up inside. This can be
especially devastating to majja, nervous system tissue, which is mainly composed of oils.
Ayurveda holds that when majja loses its nourishment from oils the result can be neurological
problems in later life. The Vaidyas report there is much less incidence of neurological disorders
during old age in cultures where the traditional diet includes many spices sauteed in oils.
The classic way to include sauteed oils and spices in dishes are to:
1. sautee oils and spices then add them to your soups and dahls as they are cooking.
2. sautee oils and spices then add chopped up vegetables, tofu or other high protein source.
Oil friendly Spices
Following are some spices and the main properties they have in helping oils be nourishing and
not unhealthy in their effect.
1) Strengthen Agni of digestion and metabolism
fresh ginger root, cumin, black pepper, asofoetida, coriander, fenegreek
2) "Sweet" spices that are added to carbohydrate dense foods like desserts.
Excess sugars and carbohydrates are turned into fat deposits in the body. To prevent unhealthy fat
accumulation Ayurveda recommends fenegreek, cardomom (use especially with milk products),
clove, cinnamon and saffron be used with nutrition dense dishes.
3) Turmeric cleanses all the tissues
Turmeric has a powerful cleansing effect on all the tissues and is an important spice to include in
your diet. However it should not be sauteed with oil but rather added the watery portion of the
cooking process. Add turmeric to soups or vegetables during the middle of their cooking process.
In summary, oils can be a great friend or enemy of our health. Ayurvedic theory helps provide
the knowledge of how to extract the maximum health benefit from this essential food group.
Milk, like the oils have exceptionally positive health qualities and also can create many health
problems if used inappropriately. The main thing that has to be taken into consideration is that
milk products are very heavy, clogging and mucous creating in many forms. Following are the
three best forms of milk products
1. Boil milk, add spices like cardomon, ginger or turmeric and drink while still hot. Cold
milk is very hard to digest for almost everyone. Milk needs to be boiled and drunk while still
warm to help overcome its heavy and mucous forming properties. Adding spices that cut the
heaviness of milk like turmeric, ginger and cardomon help even more.
2. Freshly prepared yogurt made into a lassi and drunk at lunch. Yogurt becomes
increasingly heavy, clogging and acidic over time. Ayurveda recommends that ideally yogurt
should be consumed within 24 hours of it being made. It is also too heavy to be eaten at breakfast
or dinner when digestion is less strong. The last part of the recommendation is to dilute the
yougurt with 3 to 4 parts water, add spices and turn it into a lassi.
3. Panir is the most pure, easily digested and nutritious of the cheese family. It is easily made
by bringing a large pot of milk to a boil and adding enough fresh lemon juice and/or yogurt to
make the milk solids curdle. When you have large, white clumps of milk solids floating in a clear
yellow liquid your cooking is finishes. Pour the mixture into a sieve and take the milk solids and
press them slightly until the water is mostly out. Panir still needs to be cooked before eating and
is wonderful in soups and vegetable dishes. Just cut your panir into cubes and sautee it in oil and
spices, then add to your dish.
Avoid or Reduce: Yogurt, cold milk, hard yellow cheeses and ice cream are some of the most
clogging and hard to digest of all foods and should be avoided.
Vegetables are very important for their vitamins, minerals, roughage and freshness. I especially
recommend including plenty of leafy, green vegetables in your diet. Most people should have less
of the root vegetables (potatoes) as they are heavier and harder to digest. Root vegetables need
more spicing due to their heaviness. Salads are good as a minor part of our meals but I do not
recommend having whole meals of just raw salad especially at lunch. Raw, cold vegetables are
very Vata aggravating and do not provide the variety we should be having at the largest meal of
The best cooking methods for vegetables are:
1) Sautee spices in olive oil or ghee and then add cut vegetables and continue to sautee
2) Roast vegetables by stirring larger chunks of high water content vegetables (squash, zuccini,
fennel) with a mixture of oil, herbs and spices. Then place this pan in the oven and bake until
3) Grill vegetables by mixing vegetables with oil, spices and herbs and then placing on the grill
4) Steaming is a very pure way of preparing vegetables but the process drains significant amount
of vitamins, minerals and taste out of the vegetables before it is finished.
Fresh, juicy fruits like grapes, pears, melons, plums are an excellent addition to almost everyone's
diet. Be sure the fruits you eat are ripe as unripe fruit can be acidic in nature. Following are some
common fruits and specific characteristics important to take into account.
Banana: Slightly hard to digest and an acidic after effect in digestion.
Pears: Especially good for emotional stability, balancing anger and excessively hot emotions
Apples: Best when stewed with some clove and had at breakfast. Slightly hard to digest and Vata
aggravating when eaten raw.
Melons: Especially good in summer to cool down Pitta
Raisins: Best to soak them overnight before eating.
F. Legumes, Dahl and Tofu
Good legume soups are missing from most people's diets in the West but they are very essential
to a balanced diet. With grains legumes can form a complete protein and they are the main source
of the astringent taste. Because legumes can be hard to digest it is important to eat them with
proper spicing. Sautee spices like fresh ginger root, cumin, coriander, turmeric and ground black
pepper in ghee or olive oil and add them to the dahl toward the end of the cooking process.
Chopped fresh cilantro is taditionally added to dahls after they have finished cooking.
Mung dahl is the most balancing of all the dahls. It comes as whole mung dahl which is more
nutritious, harder to digest and takes about 45 minutes to cook. Split mung bean dahl is easy to
digest and takes about 2-25 minutes to cook. The best strategy is to have a wide variety of dahls
in your diet and you can even mix dahl flours with grain flours in your baking.
While the classical Ayurvedic texts do not address tofu it is a hard to digest food that needs good
spicing. I recommend having tofu no more than 2-3 times a week in the diet.
G. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, carbohydrates, roughage and high quality oils. However,
they are often hard to digest and can be Pitta aggravating. It is especially good to soak cashews
and almonds before eating as Pitta aggravating qualities are absorbed by the water. It is especially
important for vegetarians to have these rich, nutritious foods as part of their diet.
F. The Cook and the Kitchen
One of the most major themes in Ayurvedic cooking is the powerful effect of the consciousness
of the cook on the food. If the cook is unhappy and emotionally disturbed some of that quality
gets in the food. Make your kitchen a bright and pleasing space. Try to avoid cooking if you are
emotionally distraught if you can. The kitchen is not a pace to have argumentative discussions
with your family and friends. The consciousness of the cook is also a major factor when you go
out to eat at a restaurant because you have no idea or control over the quality of the cook and
their workplace in a restaurant.
Avoid the use of aluminum or non stick cookware. Stainless steel is a good alternative as is
occasional cooking with iron cookware. Cooking over a flame is considered the best heat.
Microwaves are not at all recommended as they create high Vat quality in the food.
Food preparation is an art and a joy. Proper diet is also great medicine and the key to a long,
vibrant and healthy life. It is key to everyone's life be educated in the knowledge foods and their
Suggestions for Meals
Foods good at Breakfast. (need to be combined properly)
Stewed Fruit: apples with raisins or dried fruit, cinnamon stick and whole cloves (discard
the cinnamon stick and cloves after cooking)
Boiled grain cereal or flat bread
Hot, spiced milk
Avoid cold milk on cereal out of a box.
Fresh fruit juice
Foods good at Lunch
a) boiled grain b) 2-3 vegetables c) spiced dahl d) chapati (flat bread) e) lassi, f) panir, g) chutney
h) dessert (cooked fruit tarts, whipped cream) i) sip warm water or tea.
Foods good at Dinner
Vegetable or dahl soup, boiled grain, green vegetable with proper oil and spices.
Key Ayurvedic Recipes
The Preparation of Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter. According to Maharishi Ayur-Veda it is the best oil for all doshas,
because it improves the digestion without aggravating Pitta. Ghee can be used as cooking oil, as
a digestive aid, or as a flavoring in place of butter. Under doctors’ recommendation, it is also
taken in its melted form as a preparation for Maharishi Ayur-Veda Rejuvenation Treatments at
1. Place one or more pounds of unsalted butter in a deep stainless steel or Pyrex type glass pan
on medium or medium-low heat. Watch to make sure that the butter doesn’t scorch while
2. Within the next 30 to 40 minutes the water will boil away (approximately 20% of butter is
composed of water). Milk solids will appear on the surface of the liquid and also at the
bottom of the pan.
3. Be alert to remove the liquid from the heat as soon as milk solids turn golden brown on the
bottom of the pan; otherwise the ghee may burn. At this point, you may notice that the ghee
smells like popcorn and that tiny bubbles arise from the bottom of the pan.
4. Strain sediment from ghee while hot, by pouring it through a cotton cloth placed over a
stainless steel strainer or Pyrex type pan. At this point it is very hot, so you should always be
5. Ghee can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 months or longer if it is refrigerated. Later
if ghee becomes solid due to being cool, just heat it slightly and it will return to liquid.
6. Ghee is usually available at delicatessens, natural food stores, and Indian groceries in your
Purchase a small container of plain yogurt at the grocery to use as “starter.” Milk to use: whole
• Boil milk for 10 minutes with a few slices of fresh ginger. Cool to warm (40 degrees Celsius /
100 degrees Fahrenheit or just slightly warmer than body temperature).
• Pour milk into cups of yogurt maker.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of yogurt to each cup. DO NOT STIR!
Allow automatic process to continue until the next day.
Save a small amount of new yogurt to make the next day’s batch.
Yogurt and lassi are not considered the same thing in Maharishi Ayur-Veda. So if yogurt is
restricted, you may have lassi. Yogurt or lassi are best taken after lunch or late afternoon rather
Lassi is a yogurt drink, which is considered to be a healthful digestive aid. It is made by diluting
yogurt and adding some spices, to taste, for the desired effect.
Enjoy this drink at room temperature at the end of your luncheon or as an afternoon treat.
water (room temperature)
(fresh) cardamom powder
water (room temperature)
salt to taste*
chopped cilantro (the fresh form of coriander) or mint
(Digestive lassi is also considered helpful for gas problems)
*Black salt in lassi is very effective as a digestive aid. It has a sulfur smell and taste — not
everyone enjoys it. However it does provide the best aid to gas and digestive problems. Black salt
can be purchased at Indian grocery stores or ordered through The Raj Herbery.
Bring milk to a simmering boil in a large pan watched very closely. Add lemon and/or yogurt
until the milk congeals and there are clumps of milk solids floating in a clear yellow liquid.
Strain the panir from the liquid, let cool and dry. Press panir together and then cut into cubes and
sauté before adding to dishes.
The following recipe is good for Vata and Pitta dosha and makes 12 servings:
unbleached white flour
1/2 – 2/3 cup warm water
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water until dough forms a firm ball.
Dust with flour. Cover and let set 30 minutes.
Cut dough into 12 pieces and form into balls. Roll out balls on a floured surface into 6" circles.
Place a chapati in a heated griddle. Cook about 1 minute on each side.
Put the chapati directly on a gas burner flame and cook until it puffs up.
Mung Dahl Soup
Mung dahl soup is easy to prepare and easy to digest. Serve it accompanied with a flatbread or
rice and vegetables. Grains and dahl make a complete protein. Always sort, wash and drain mung
Following are the ingredients for a soup that will serve 4 to 6 persons:
split mung dahl
peeled and minced fresh ginger root
ghee/or olive oil
coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Sort, wash and drain the split mung beans.
2. Combine the mung beans, water, and spices in a large pot, except the cumin and mustard
seeds. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate.
Cook for one hour or until the dahl is soft and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent
sticking and add water as needed to keep dahl to desired consistency.
3. Remove from heat, uncover, whip with a wire whisk until the dahl soup is creamy smooth.
4. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the cumin and
mustard seeds then fry until the seeds turn brown. Put a small amount of dahl into the cooked
spices and mix, then pour into the larger pot. Cover for 1-2 minutes. Mix in turmeric. Serve
garnished with cilantro. For variety, vary spices and any vegetables added to the dahl.
This salad adds a delightful freshness to the meal and stimulates the digestive process.
Carrots Fresh lemon juice
Fresh ginger root
• Grate the carrots, beets, and fresh ginger root. Add the parsley and basil and toss together.
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of black pepper and salt.
• Those with Vata imbalance or weak digestion should only have about 2 tablespoonfuls chewed
Thermos Flask Lunch
The thermos flask lunch is for people who have jobs that do not allow them to have access to
well cooked, balanced meals. The thermos flask lunch provides the foundation of a balanced
lunch — the most important meal of the day.
• 1/4 cup yellow split mung beans
• 1/4 cup bhasmati rice
• 1-1/2 cups fresh vegetables, cut into small pieces to fit into thermos
• 1 Tblsp ghee
• 2 cups water
• whole or ground spices to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, etc.)
Briefly sauté the spices in the ghee (see notes below for more information about cooking spices).
Add the mung dahl, rice and chopped vegetables. Cover with the water, and simmer for five
minutes only. While still boiling hot, quickly pour the mixture into a one-liter or one-quart
thermos (you may need to spoon it in, but don’t let the mixture cool). Close the thermos quickly
and leave it closed for about four hours. The meal will cook and be ready to eat after four hours
in the thermos.
• You may need to experiment with amounts and cooking times to get the best results. The
exact amount of cooking time depends on the time lapse between cooking and eating and
how well your thermos retains heat. If the time between cooking and eating is 5 to 6 hours,
then only two minutes of cooking time may be required. If the time lapse is 2 to 3 hours, then
five to ten minutes cooking time may be required.
• Since mung dahl and rice swell up substantially, you will need a generous amount of water to
get the proper consistency.
• Heavier vegetables like carrots and beets need one to two more minutes of cooking with the
rice and dahl. Lighter vegetables like spinach and leafy greens can be added just before
pouring the whole mixture into the thermos.
• You can substitute beans and lentils for the mung beans. Heavier lentils and beans will need
considerably more time. They should be cooked first after frying the spices. Then rice and
vegetables should be added, in order.
Ama and the Dhatus
Ama refers to toxins, impurities and blockages that accumulate in the physiology. The
localization of ama in the tissues disrupts and confuses the delicate biochemistry of the body,
resulting in a wide variety of symptoms. When ama blocks the channels of circulation, like blood
and lymph vessels, the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and balance in that area is lost and
the fertile ground for disease is laid.
If your personal experience is that you have any type of "chronic" disorder or symptoms
that have not gone away even with modern medical or "natural" treatment approaches
then ama is probably blocking the effect of your treatments.
In Maharishi Ayurveda, the first treatment priority is removing ama by
1) stopping the lifestyle mistakes that create ama (we addressed this in the first chapter of the
2) using natural Ayurvedic approaches to cleanse the body of ama where it may have
As ama accumulates in the body a wide variety of symptoms and disorders result. Localization of
ama results in stiffness, aches and pains, heaviness, tiredness and dullness. Another whole set of
symptoms and disorders gets created as the body tries to fight the aggravating effects of ama. For
example, the result of this struggle between the body and ama can result in the build up of excess
tissue in the form of fibroids, cysts, and a variety of tumors.
Another set of symptoms comes when the immune system perceives ama as foreign material and
fights it through inflammation in an attempt to remove the toxins. This can further result in a
mistaken or "auto-immune" response against the body's own tissues. Unfortunately this can result
in pain and/or swelling in that area. For example, conditions like arthritis, asthma and
inflammatory bowel disease are created and aggravated by the accumulation of ama.
Ama can come from environmental pollutants, mental and emotional disorders and a variety of
other sources. However, ama mainly comes from improperly digested foods. As a result of the
indigestion large, misshaped, molecules become absorbed into the bloodstream as they have not
been broken down properly in the digestive tract. Because the various channels and openings of
the body are structured for smaller molecules the large ama particles start to block the fine pores
and channels within cells and throughout the body. Many symptoms result from this process.
For example because the cell pores are blocked they can start to build up toxins inside or even
suffer from malnutrition as nutrients can't get in from the outside. As a result even though a
person may have eaten a large meal they soon get hunger signals from the body because certain
tissues truly are starving. The person eats more to satisfy this false hunger and starts to put on
more weight, creates more ama, and gets dragged into a downward spiral of increasing imbalance
on all levels.
Evaluating Your Ama Level
In A Woman's Best Medicine for Menopause I described the general symptoms of ama
accumulation and ama-free condition as follows. Consider these two lists as your general ama
questionnaires and determine whether you have mainly symptoms of ama-filled or ama-free
Symptoms of ama accumulation
1. You wake up tired even after a good nights sleep.
2. You feel lethargic
3. Your tongue is coated especially upon awaking in the morning
4. You don't feel real hunger even when you haven't eaten for hours
5. You have generalized aches and pains. They often are noticed the day after eating certain
heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods
6. You lack mental clarity and energy
7. You have a sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole
8. You feel weary and unenthusiastic
9. You experience frequent indigestion like gas bloating and or heartburn
10. You feel blocked anywhere in the body, including constipation, sinus congestion and
Symptoms of an ama-free physiology
1. You feel fresh, rested and even blissful upon awakening in the morning
2. Your skin has a healthy glow
3. Your tongue is pink and clear
4. Your body feels light, regardless of your weight
5. Aches and pains are disappearing
6. You do not feel bloated or heavy in the abdomen
7. You feel energetic during the day
8. You feel enthusiastic
9. Your mind is clear
10. People say, "Have you lost weight?" or "What are you doing you look so good".
The Four Main Causes of Ama
Following is a list of several of the major factors that create ama.
1. Eating a large, heavy meal in the evening.
This is the single, largest and most common mistake that most people make. This behavior is
especially problematical after 40 as the metabolism and digestion become slower. If you are
overweight and over 40 it will be virtually impossible to reverse a weight problem without
cutting back large evening meals.
2.Eating leftovers that have been in the refrigerator
Food that has been cooked and then refrigerated is very high in ama creating qualities. Our diet
should be fresh food freshly prepared for good health.
3. Eating processed, refined foods made by man and not by nature
The more a food has been processed and fractions of it isolated by chemical processes the more it
is high in ama creating quality. In Ayurvedic terms processing destroys the inner intelligence and
prana (life force) of the food. Processed foods to avoid as much as possible include canned,
packaged and frozen foods.
4. Ingesting cold foods and drinks
Cold depresses the digestive fire and increases the likelihood that ama will be created from food.
Six Surefire Ama-Busting Approaches
1. Eat fresh food, freshly prepared.
2. Favor warm cooked food rather than large salads, sandwiches and other cold foods.
3. Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch when digestion is strongest.
4. Avoid consumption of large quantities of cheese and heavy meats.
5. Exercise daily.
6. Sip warm or hot water with meals and throughout the day.
Determining Where Your Ama Has Accumulated:
The Key to Eliminating Ama From Your Body
Ama usually does not accumulate equally throughout the body. It is crucial for removing ama to
determine specifically where it has gone. Ayurvedic treatment programs should be specific to the
tissues the ama has accumulated in. Therefore the next step in understanding and removing ama
is to learn about the Ayurvedic knowledge of tissues or "dhatus"
The Seven Tissues (Dhatus)
The dhatus are the 7 principles of biological intelligence responsible for forming the 7 major
tissues of the body. The dhatus are not the tissues themselves but the underlying organizing
principles responsible for forming those tissues.
The seven dhatus are:
1. Rasa: lymph & nutrient fluid
2. Rakta: corpuscular blood
3. Mamsa: muscle
4. Medha: fat and hormones
5. Asthi: bone & connective tissue
6. Majja: nerves and bone marrow
7. Sukra: reproductive tissue, ova and sperm
Ayurvedic theory describes the dhatus as forming in sequence from one to the other in this order.
This is an especially important fact when treating imbalance. For example there may be
osteoporosis, a clear disturbance of the asthi dhatu. However on close analysis there is also a
significant imbalance in meda (fat, carbohydrate and hormone metabolism) the dhatu that
precedes and turns into asthi. The Ayurvedic approach may require first putting attention on
balancing meda in order to eventually balance asthi.
Following is a questionnaire that will educate you more about the symptoms that occur when a
dhatu is imbalanced and will help determine what ama may have localized in you. Again I
recommend filling out the form in pencil so you can return and document your progress.
Analysis of Balance and
Ama Accumulation in Your Tissues
BLOOD PLASMA (RASA)-- The Clear Portion of the Blood
_____Excess mucus or respiratory congestion
_____Ovarian cysts (female) or hydrocoele (male)
_____Underweight or early wrinkling of the skin
RED BLOOD CELLS (RAKTA)- red blood cells and bile
_____Hot flashes or frequently feeling hot
_____Heavy menstrual bleeding or nose bleeds
_____Skin rashes or acne
MUSCLES (MAMSA)- muscle tissue
_____Muscle aches or pains
_____Easily fatigued muscles
_____Itchy ear canals or eczema of ear canal or excess ear wax
_____Fibroids of the uterus (female) or enlarged prostate (male)
_____Fibrous tumors of the breasts
_____Dry, cracking lips
FAT AND HORMONES (MEDA)- fat, hormone and carbohydrate metabolism
_____Diabetes or insulin resistance
_____High cholesterol or triglycerides
_____Malodorous sweat or body odor
_____Fatty cysts under the skin, scalp or in the breasts
_____Coronary artery disease
BONES (ASTHI)- bone, cartilage, hair and nail tissues
_____Low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
_____Hair breaking or split ends
_____Hair with dryness or lack of lustre
_____Joint pains or osteoarthritis
_____Deep pains in the bones
BONE MARROW (MAJJA)- the central nervous system tissue and immune system
_____Frequent or recurring infections
_____Excess secretions of the eyes
_____Dryness of the upper portion of the eyelids (not inflammation or blepharitis)
_____Immune system disorder
_____Pain in the tendons, easily injured tendons or tendonitis
_____Tendency for fainting, light-headedness or spaciness
REPRODUCTIVE ESSENCE (SUKRA)- The egg and its supportive tissues
_____Absence of libido or impotence (impaired erection or ejaculation)
_____Severe vaginal dryness
_____Lacking overall sexual attractiveness
_____Dull eyes, lack of clarity of the eyes
_____History of more than one miscarriage
If you scored 3 or higher in any one tissue category that tissue is being affected to a significant
degree by ama accumulation.
If you scored 1-2 in any tissue category ama is beginning to form in that tissue.
Ayurvedic Dhatu Balancing Recommendations
If your scores indicate ama is starting to accumulate in specific dhatus it is important to pay
attention to the many areas of lifestyle, diet and eating behavior that have been described in this
Factors that Disturb the Dhatu
Reduce these factors if you have this
Rasa is imbalanced by factors that
1)low water intake,
3) irregular meal times,
4) eating excessive quantities of dry
5) excess salt
6) eating before the previous meal is
Rasa is also disturbed by
8) staying up late at night
9) insufficient sleep
10) mental stress, worry and fear
1) acidic foods like tomatoes, vinegar,
2) alkaline (leavened with baking soda)
3) toxins like alcohol, nicotine, drugs,
4) frequent anger and frustration
5) hot, spicy foods
6) artificial colors, preservatives,
7) aged cheeses
8) violent movies or news shows
9) late bedtimes
Mamsa is disturbed by factors that
create dense, sticky ama.
1) old foods and leftovers
2) cheese, cold deli foods, ice cream
3) leftover or impure meats
5) deep fried foods
6) cold drinks
7) eating meat or cheese late in the day
Lifestyle and dietary factors
to favor that balance the dhatu.
1) drink plenty of water
2) eat sweet, juicy, fresh fruits (pears,
grapes, plums, oranges, melons)
3) eat juicy vegetables (zucchinis,
4) get more sleep
5) manage stress, ideally through the TM
6) perform abhyanga (herbalized oil
1) more neutral taste diet, less spices
2) plenty of water intake
3) good quantities of fruits and
4) T M technique
5) bed before 10
6) reduce anger
7) don't skip meals, have regular meals
8) drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice daily
9) include rose petal jam or rosewater in
your diet (add to milk or lassi)
1) yoga, stretching
4) vegetarian diet
5) amla berry preparations (Indian
grocery stores or MAPI 1-800-all-veda)
6) eat 1-2 dates a day and buckwheat at
least once a weak
7) Strictly avoid red meat, pork and
Meda (fat &
Meda is disturbed by factors that
clog and slow metabolism
1) overeating fats, refined sugar foods,
& hormones) deep fried food and high calorie food
2) large evening meals
3) excess meat and cheese
4) impure cooking oils like nonorganic, refined vegetable oils
5) snacking late at night
Asthi is most easily disturbed by
factors that aggravate Vata
1) late nights
2) mental stress
3) irregular meals
5) toxins esp. mercury and lead
1) unnatural unwholesome foods (junk
food, processed food, fake cakes,
genetically engineered food, food not
ripened on the vine)
2) corticosteroids that decrease bone
marrow production (consult your
doctor before changing intake of any
3) mental stress
4) plenty of sunlight
5) foods rich in calcium, magnesium,
vitamin B6 and B12
Shukra is disturbed by excess sexual
activity, exhaustion and poor
1) excessive sexual activity
2) frequent childbirth
3) carbonated beverages, baking soda,
4) mental and emotional stress
5) unwholesome foods lacking in
6) inadequate food intake
7) inadequate sleep
1) increase exercise (consult your
physician if you have any known
2) increase fiber in the diet
3) eat organic foods
4) use organic, unrefined olive oil
5) eat bran, whole cooked grains,
especially barley and quinoa, cooked,
green, leafy vegetables, and legumes
(lentils, dahls, dried beans, and peas)
1) adequate dietary calcium and
2) calcium rich foods like sesame seeds,
tahini, broccoli, blanched almonds, kale,
3) 30 minute walk in the rising sun
without sunscreen if tolerated (sunscreen
blocks vitamin D production)
4) abhyanga daily
1) more rest
2) gentle but regular ecercise
3) daily abhyanga
4) TM technique
5) healthy, pure, wholesome foods
6) walnuts, pecans, blanced almonds
7) warm blended date/milk shakes
8) rice pudding with basmati rice,
raisins, chopped nuts, saffron and
organic raw sugar to taste
1) practice moderation in sexual activity
2) to bed before 10 PM
3) daily abhyanga
4) eat nurturing foods like date
milkshakes and rice pudding (#7&8 in
5) fresh asparagus 2-3 times a week
6) mangoes in season
7) one sweet juicy pear or apple each
Importance of the sequence of dhatu development
It is very important to also remember that the dhatus get built up one to the other in the sequence
rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, shukra. If a dhatu early in the sequence is disturbed the
others that follow will be weakened. For example often an asthi imbalance (osteoporosis) is
created by a meda (fat and hormone) imbalance. Balance the first dhatus in the sequence to
strengthen the later ones.
Following are two specific recommendations you can use to cleanse the dhatus
1. Ayurvedic Herbs: The Maharishi Amrit Kalash preparations with over 40 different herbs and
fruits have a very powerful influence on cleansing the dhatus and opening the channels
throughout the body.
2. Spice waters: Specific spices can help to "clear" specific dhatus of ama. Spice water is
prepared by placing proper quantities of the dhatu specific spices in boiled hot water in a thermos
and then drink that spice water throughout the day. The hot water penetrates through all the
tissues carrying the specific cleansing effect of the spices into the tissues most affected by them.
Spice waters are one of the simplest and most profound recommendations in all of
Ayurveda. I highly recommend you use them daily for a period of 2 months at a time. Then
take a month off, then retake the test and use your updated recipe for another two months.
Repeat this cycle until you are ama-free!
Following is a list of
which spices to use for cleansing specific dhatus.
helps absorption of nutrients
powder or leaves of tea cut size
Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very
Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very
Do not use if you have high blood pressure, fluid retention,
breast cancer, fibroids or heavy bleeding.
helps the kidneys cleanse the body
strengthen the downward flow of elimination and reduces
flatulence and bloating
since ajwan is quite heating reduce or skip if you are having
intense Pitta imbalance or hot flashes
the herb! not the puffy, white marshmallows from the
How to make your personal spice water recipe
Drink each day for 2 months.
Boil 2 quart(s) of water for 5 minutes. Pour into a thermos. Then add the following spices in
WHOLE seed form to make the basic recipe.
To individualize your water, take the dhatu test above. Then add the spices indicated in the dhatu
chart above for each dhatu you scored 3 or higher in. That completes your spice water
Use the WHOLE seed, tea-cut or chunk form of the herb whenever available (except any
turmeric, sandalwood or manjistha, which are powders). Rosebuds should be without stems or
leaves. Many ingredients will be available at your local herb shop or whole foods store. All are
also available through MAPI at 1-800-ALL-VEDA.
Then drink the water throughout the day. Allow the water to cool to lukewarm or room
temperature after pouring into glass, before drinking. Please simply drink the water and do not
eat the spices themselves. The water-soluble fraction of the spices will be helpful, but the other
parts may be aggravating for your system. You may drink other water during the day according to
thirst, but try to drink all the spiced water by 6PM. Drinking it later may keep you awake at night
due to its mild diuretic effect. This spiced water must be made fresh every day.
The Three Doshas -Vata, Pitta and Kapha
The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Ayurveda says there are two levels within us that must be coordinated and balanced in order for
us to be healthy. The first level we are all familiar with. It is the material level of cells, tissues
and organs. But Ayurveda describes how the material level is actually just an expression of
biological intelligence and that biological intelligence is a subset of the intelligence at the basis
of all natural phenomenon. According to Maharishi Ayurveda the intelligence level creates and
controls the material level. Modern medicine diagnoses and treats the material level of cells,
tissues and organs. Ayurveda diagnoses and treats the intelligence level. This is the difference
between the two systems.
The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Biological intelligence in the human being has three subdivisions which control the various
activities of the physiology. These three divisions are Vata, Pitta and Kapha - the three doshas.
Although the knowledge of the doshas is very ancient it is actually more in line with the latest
understanding of the world that modern science gives us than even modern medicine. Modern
medicine is a very "classical physics" (the world is "particle" in nature) approach to the issues of
health care, evaluating them all from a molecular perspective. We see this in its biochemical
evaluation of virtually all aspects of health. The physiology is explained in biochemical terms
and when modern medicine tries to cure you it usually just gives you a molecule (most
prescription drugs are actually just one specific molecule). Such a molecular oriented approach
would naturally culminate in the exploration of the molecule that makes all the other molecules.
Thus the cutting edge of modern medicine is investigation into the function of DNA and the
human genome project.
However, modern physics abandoned the classical model over 60 years ago in favor of a
quantum mechanical view of nature. In the quantum mechanical view it is fields in vibration
that compose the structure of nature and explain its functioning in a way that classical physics
never could. Quantum physics tells us the ultimate information in nature is not molecule based
but quantum field based. An example of the power of fields to carry information is in modern
television and radio. The tremendously complex information we receive from both is encoded in
the vibratory activity of subtle fields. Maharishi Ayurveda is a very quantum mechanical view of
health as Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the most fundamental fields of natural law which control all
aspects of the physiology.
If we think of a spectrum of natural law going from matter, to molecules, to atoms, to quantum
fields, to the Unified Field, we see modern medicine located at the molecular level and Maharishi
Ayurveda located at the gap between the Unified Field and the various quantum fields. Vata,
Pitta and Kapha are the very first manifestations of the Unified Field and their properties and
function influence all the grosser, more expressed levels of natural law that ultimately arise from
Maharishi Vedic Medicine goes one step deeper than Maharishi Ayurveda and sees that the
fundamental vibratory activity inherent in the Unified Field itself is what gives rise to the
physiology. Maharishi Vedic Medicine actually performs a "human genome project", not on the
level of molecules, but on the level of the vibratory activity within the Unified Field. Vedic
Science calls these primordial vibrations the Veda and the discovery of Veda at the basis of
human physiology is the Vedic traditions most profound approach to health care.
The home page of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International contains a very full description of
Maharishi Ayurveda and its relation to Maharishi Vedic Medicine and The Discovery of Veda in
Basic Functions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Vata governs bodily functions concerned with movement.
Vata is especially involved in the movement of electrical activity up and down the nerves and
therefore has a major function in the nervous system and brain. The flow of food through the
digestive tract and the circulation also are controlled by the function of Vata.
Pitta governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism and energy production.
Pitta’s main activities are to control the chemical transformation processes associated with
digestion and metabolism.
Kapha governs bodily functions concerned with physical structure and fluid balance.
Kapha is mainly concerned with fluid balance and the buildup of the gross structure of the body
including fat, tissues and muscles.
These three types of processes can be seen at the basis of any system in nature. For example,
think of a car. It has moving wheels and parts that would be like the “Vata” function. It has an
internal combustion engine that creates chemical transformations to turn gasoline into heat and
energy to power the car. This is like the “Pitta” function. The car also has a chassis that provides
the overall structure for the vehicle. This is like the “Kapha” function.
Food is evaluated for its strength and balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. For example, an apple is
high in Vata quality, hot pungent spices have strong Pitta activity and heavy desserts and sweets
are high in Kapha.
Behavior is analyzed for its influence on the Vata, Pitta and Kapha fields. For example, staying
up late at night increases and disturbs Vata. Eating a large meal late in the evening aggravates
Kapha. Exercising in the hot sun can aggravate Pitta.
This Vedic perspective of health is effective because it is rooted in the deepest quantum
mechanical reality of nature’s functioning. The classical level of molecules that modern medicine
deals with is very superficial compared to the quantum mechanical world from which Vedic
The Daily Cycles of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
The environment and physiology have many natural cycles and rhythms that should be taken into
account in our daily patterns of living. The basis of much of the Ayurvedic daily routine
described in Chapter 1 is the fact that Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and the functions they control,
become more enlivened at different times of the day. Following are the times when Vata, Pitta
and Kapha and their corresponding physiological functions are most active.
Time of Day
Dosha most Active
2:00 AM to 6:00 AM
6:00 AM to 10:AM
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
10:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Behavioral effects and
Note: avoid sleeping into
Digestion is strongest so
have lunch as your largest
Tendency to tiredness,
afternoon herbal tea,
to bed by 10:00 PM
For optimal health and healing, we need to align our behavior to gain maximum support from the
natural, rhythmic swings of Vata, Pitta and Kapha activity. Simply stated we want "support of
nature" for our most important physiological activities. Eat you largest meal at lunch when Pitta
makes digestion strongest. Go to bed in Kapha time when your sleep will come more easily and
deeply. Sleep through Pitta time so as not to disrupt your natural internal cleansing cycle and to
allow full rejuvenation of your mind and senses.
Disregarding the laws of nature leads to illness. Living in accord with natural law brings the full
support of the healing power of nature that underlies the growth and development of all living
things. This is one of life's basic lessons and a guiding principle of Ayurveda.
Qualities and Characteristic of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
If we learn the state of balance and imbalance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha within us, it will help us
in understanding why we have a disorder and what we can do to eliminate it. Following are lists
of the defining characteristics of Vata, Pita and Kapha. Read them with an eye as to which one
most describes what is going on within your physiology.
Qualities of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Moving, quick, light, minute, rough, dry, leads Pitta and Kapha
hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly oily
Heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull
Characteristics of Vata, Pitta or Kapha
Predominance in the Physiology- "Constitutional Body Type"
As you read the qualities of the three doshas listed below, think about which best describes you.
That dosha is your "predominant" dosha. Everyone has all three doshas lively within them, but 1
or 2 are usually more predominant than the others.
Lighter, thinner build
Performs activity quickly
Tendency toward dry skin especially in winter
Aversion to cold weather
Irregular hunger and digestion
Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget
Tendency toward worry
Tendency toward constipation
Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep
Enthusiastic and vivacious by nature
Difficulty making decisions or often changes mind
Performs activity with medium speed
Aversion to hot weather
Prefers cold food and drinks
Sharp hunger and digestion
Can’t skip meals
Medium time to grasp new information
Great precision and organization
Tendency toward reddish hair and complexion, moles and freckles
Good public speakers
Tendency toward irritability and anger
Enterprising and sharp in character
Solid, heavier build
Gains weight easily
Greater strength and endurance
Oily, smooth skin
Slow digestion, mild hunger
Can skip lunch without significant discomfort
Tranquil, steady personality
Slow to grasp new information, slow to forget
Slow to become excited or irritated
Sleep is heavy and long
Hair is plentiful, thick and wavy
Tendency to excess mucous, chronic congestion, sinus problems and allergies
Tendency toward lethargy and depression
Performs activity slowly
Sweet and happy by nature
Qualities of Balance and Imbalance in Vata, Pitta and Kapha
You can use the following charts to help identify the dosha that is most imbalanced. This is
important because this dosha imbalance is the root cause of symptoms that appear on the material
level of your body. The Ayurvedic approach is not to treat symptoms but to treat the underlying
imbalances in Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When these imbalances disappear, usually symptoms
Dry or rough skin
Enthusiasm & Exhilaration
Proper formation of body tissues
Intolerance of cold
Normal heat & thirst mechanisms
Rashes, skin inflammations
Excessive body heat
Premature graying, baldness
Vitality and stamina
Affection, generosity, courage
Stability of mind
Healthy, normal joints
Personal Characteristics Questionnaire
By now you probably have a pretty good idea of what dosha is strongest in you and where your
imbalance is. The following questionnaire helps you solidify your understanding of which dosha
is strongest in you. Please answer the following questions in terms of your pattern or tendency
over your lifetime, not necessarily your current state.
1. Which of the following styles most accurately describes how you perform your activities?
a) Quickly, with a lot of enthusiasm
b) With medium speed, intensely
c) More slowly and methodically
2. How easily do you become excited or enthused?
a) Very readily
b) Fairly quickly
c) Not easily
3. How easily do you become frightened?
a) Very easily
b) Fairly easily
c) Not easily
4. How quickly do you pick up new information?
a) Very quickly, usually the first time
b) Quite quickly
c) More slowly, prefer to review the material several times
5. Which of the following best describes your memory?
a) Good short-term, but tend to forget rather quickly
b) Medium, it depends
c) Good long-term
6. Which of the following best describes your digestion?
a) Quite easily upset, tendency for gas or bloating
b) Virtually never a problem, can eat nearly anything
c) Digestion is slow, stomach feels heavy long after meals
7. Which of the following best describes your appetite?
a) Irregular, varying
b) Strong, do not like to skip a meal
c) Generally do not feel strong hunger, can easily skip a meal
8. How would you characterize your capacity for food intake?
a) Varies a lot
b) Can eat a lot at one time without undue discomfort
9. Which, if any, of the following groups of tastes do you specifically prefer?
a) Sweet, sour, salty
b) Sweet, bitter (ex. green, leafy vegetables), astringent
(ex. split peas, dahl, dried beans)
c) Hot and spicy, bitter, astringent
d) None of the above
10. Which, if any, of the following types of foods do you crave?
a) Warm, cooked foods and hot drinks
b) Cold foods and drinks
c) Dry, crunchy foods
d) None of the above
11. In which of the following types of weather, if any, do you feel especially uncomfortable?
c) Cold and damp
d) None of the above
12. Which of the following best describes your sleep pattern?
a) Light sleeper, frequently awakened
b) Sound sleep, need 6-8 hours
c) Deep sleep, need more than 8 hours
13. Which of the following best describes your bowel habits?
a) Irregular, not every day
b) More than twice a day
c) Regular, every day
14. Towards which of the following do you have a tendency?
a) Hard, dry stools
b) Loose stools
c) Formed stools
15. How easily do you perspire?
a) Not easily, only when very hot
b) Easily, more than is comfortable
c) Very little
16. How would you describe the strength of your sexual drive?
17. How do you feel inside when you run into some problem or difficulty?
a) Worried, mind moving back and forth, anxious
b) Tendency to feel irritated or angry
c) Calm, stable and clear
Total scores a-Vata __________
You probably realized as you took the test that the "a" scores where for Vata, the "b" scores for
Pitta and the "c" scores for Kapha. Add up your scores for each letter and if one letter has
significantly more points than the others then the corresponding dosha is probably most active in
you. The most active dosha is the one most likely to get out of balance. If Pitta is most active in
you may not yet have a Pitta imbalance but for preventive medicine you should favor Pitta
pacifying diets and behaviors.
The Three Doshas, Balanced Diet and The Six Tastes
Diet is the primary way we can balance or imbalance Vata, Pitta and Kapha in our daily life.
When the Rishis looked to nature they realized that the Vata, Pitta and Kapha fields were active
to varying degrees in different foods. They also saw that "like increases like." In other words, if a
person eats a food strong in Kapha, such as a smooth, unctuous, sweet piece of cheesecake,
Kapha will increase in that person's body. She may feel heavy and tend to gain weight from the
dessert. She may also feel very content and fulfilled, another Kapha quality!
As a result if we overeat Kapha foods we are likely to develop a Kapha imbalance. If we overeat
Pitta foods we tend to develop a Pitta imbalance, and the same with overeating foods strong in
On the other hand, "opposites bring balance." Eating foods with qualities opposite to those of
your imbalance can help to heal your body. For example, a person who is underweight, weak and
undernourished--all signs of Vata imbalance--can be helped by eating rich, warm, and unctuous
foods that reduce Vata such as casseroles, pasta, nuts and cheeses. Whereas a person with a
Kapha imbalance, who is overweight, sluggish, and prone to congestion, will find that light,
spicy Kapha balancing foods such as hot lentil soup with gingered vegetables helps balance their
Kapha, leaving them feeling more light and energized. Pitta balancing foods are cooling ones
such as watery vegetables (zucchini) and sweet juicy fruits (melons, plums, grapes) that balance
the hot nature of Pitta dosha.
To take advantage of this knowledge we are going to have to learn a little more about the
Ayurvedic food classification system that is based on the relationship of tastes to doshas.
According to Ayur-Veda, all foods can be divided into six fundamental categories according to
pungent (hot spicy)
Each taste contains nutritional factors that the body needs for proper functioning. Ayurveda
recommends that for our diets to be balanced they should include all six tastes every day. It is
especially important to include all the tastes at lunch, which should also be the main meal of the
When the diet is not balanced, that is, when it does not contain all six tastes, it can lead to
experiences like still feeling hungry after finishing a large meal, feeling weak and tired in the late
afternoon, or developing cravings for certain foods.
Following are the six tastes and some major foods within each category:
Most grains like wheat, rice, barley, corn, etc.
Milk and sweet milk products like ghee, cream, butter
Sweet fruits like coconuts, dates, figs, grapes, pears, mangoes and especially dried fruits
Cooked vegetables like potato, sweet potato, carrot, beet root, cauliflower, string beans
Sugar in any form—raw, refined, brown, white, molasses, sugar cane juice, etc.
Sour fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, passion fruit, cherries, plums
Sour milk products like yogurt, cheese, whey, sour cream, etc.
Fermented substances like wine, vinegar, soy sauce, cabbage
Any kind of salt like rock salt, sea salt, salt from the ground
Any food to which salt has been added (pickles, nuts, chips)
Hot spices like chilies, black pepper, mustard seeds, ginger, cumin, cloves, cardamom,
Mild spices like turmeric, anise, cinnamon, and “fresh” herbs like oregano, thyme, mint,
Raw vegetables like radish, onion, cauliflower
Fruits like olive, grapefruit
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, green cabbage, brussel sprouts
Spices like fenugreek, turmeric
Turmeric, honey (do not heat hotter than lukewarm water), walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews
Pulses (legumes) i.e. beans, lentils, peas, (dahl)
Vegetables like sprouts, lettuce, green leafy vegetables, most raw vegetables
Fruits like pomegranate, berries, persimmon, lemon, cranberry, most unripe fruits
Determining the amount of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in foods
The following charts show what types of foods are high in each dosha. Ayurvedic theory says
that if a person has an imbalance in a specific dosha he would eat foods that decrease the activity
of that dosha. Always remember that even when consciously favoring or avoiding foods to help
balance our doshas we should always maintain a balanced diet with all six tastes.
How the Tastes Affect Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Sweet, Sour, Salty
Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
Pungent, Sour, Salty
Sweet, Bitter, Astringent
How Food Qualities Affect Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Increases Kapha and Vata
Decreases Vata and Kapha
Have a balanced diet with all six tastes at all times but if you clearly have the symptoms of an
imbalance in one of the doshas favor foods that decrease that dosha and avoid the ones that
aggravate it. The following chart gives a small example of using food to balance doshas
warm unctuous food
grains, nuts and seeds
sweet fruits, milk
hot spices, tomatoes
cheese & meat
Vata Pacifying Diet
Most important principles:
Favor warm, cooked foods and hot beverages. Soft and unctuous foods, such as pasta, cooked
cereals and soups should be favored over dry and crunchy foods. Raw vegetables should be
avoided except in small amounts. Avoid cold drinks and frozen desserts (such as ice cream,
popsicles, frozen yogurt, etc.)
Favor the Following Foods
GENERAL Sufficient quantity, adequate amount of oil, warm foods and drinks. Have more
sweet, sour and salty tasting foods.
GRAINS Wheat products, rice, cooked oatmeal, bulgar wheat, cous-cous, quinoa.
LEGUMES Yellow split mung beans (green skin removed,) whole mung bean soup, red lentils.
VEGETABLES Zucchini, asparagus, carrot, beets, sweet potatoes, tomato, artichokes,
cucumber, yellow squash, okra, tender eggplant, fennel, spinach in small amounts.
All should be cooked.
DAIRY Milk (boiled and served hot), butter, ghee, cream, yogurt (only if freshly made at
home,) soft, non-aged cheeses (such as ricotta, cottage cheese, and cream cheese,) panir
(homemade cheese from milk,) sour cream.
SWEETENERS Whole, natural cane sugar (in small amounts,) raw honey, date sugar,
OILS All (organic olive oil preferred.) Ghee.
NUTS & SEEDS All nuts and seeds except peanuts. Soak the nuts in water to soften.
SPICES Cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, celery seeds fenugreek, hing (asafoetida), cinnamon,
cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, black pepper (small amounts), salt, lemon juice, tamarind. All
others in small amounts.
FRUITS All ripe, sweet, and juicy fruits. Dried fruit is better soaked in water before eating.
Sweet grapes, banana, melons, plums, cherries, kiwi, peach, apricot, mango, papaya,
pomegranate, sweet pineapples, avocado, sweet oranges, grapefruit, raisins, dates, prunes, and
figs. Apples and pears only if sweet and juicy.
Reduce the Following Foods
GENERAL Light, dry, and crunchy foods. Cold foods and drinks. Pungent (hot, spicy), bitter
and astringent tastes.
GRAINS Barley, corn, millet, rye, buckwheat, raw oats.
LEGUMES All except yellow mung beans and red lentils.
VEGETABLES Green leafy vegetables, peas, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery,
orange pumpkin and squash, sprouts, mature eggplant, onion, radish, and raw vegetables.
FRUITS Unripe fruits. Guava, cranberries, persimmon.
SPICES Avoid cayenne, chili peppers and other very hot spices
Vata Diet without Heavy Foods
Use this diet if you have symptoms of both Vata and Kapha imbalance or you have
symptoms of Vata imbalance with an overweight or ama condition
Most important principles:
Favor warm, cooked foods and warm beverages. Soft and moist foods, such as pasta,
cooked cereals and soups should be favored over dry and crunchy foods. Raw vegetables should
be avoided. Avoid cold drinks, iced drinks, frozen desserts (such as ice cream, popsicles, frozen
yogurt, etc.,) caffeinated beverages and other stimulants, and carbonated beverages.
All foods should be freshly prepared of fresh and ideally organic ingredients. Avoid
leftovers, packaged, canned or bottled foods, processed foods, frozen foods, refined sweets and
Favor the Following Foods
GENERAL Warm foods and drinks. Foods should be cooked at home ideally, of fresh
ingredients. Avoid frozen foods (including frozen vegetables,) canned or bottled foods, red meat,
raw vegetables and greasy or fried food.
GRAINS Wheat products (avoid yeast breads except 100% whole grain bread, avoid white
flour; favor crackers, cous-cous, cream of wheat, and unleavened breads such as whole wheat
chapati, pita bread or tortilla which are dry-fried on the stove or lightly toasted,) boiled or
steamed rice, cream of rice, oatmeal cooked with plenty of water.
LEGUMES Yellow split mung beans, whole mung beans, or red lentils. (All should be cooked
with water and spices to form soup.)
VEGETABLES Favor zucchini, asparagus, carrot, beets, tomato, artichokes, cucumber
(cooked), yellow squash, okra, tender eggplant (baby-sized only), fennel, spinach. Avoid raw
vegetables, white potatoes. All other vegetables may be eaten occasionally if in small portions
and cooked well. Small amounts of salad greens are acceptable on occasion. Freshly juiced raw
vegetables are also acceptable.
DAIRY Low-fat milk (boiled and served hot), ghee, yogurt (only if made at home and less than
24 hours old,) lassi from fresh yogurt (diluted 4-6 parts water to one part yogurt.) Avoid all
cheeses including nondairy cheese, frozen yogurt, ice cream, nondairy frozen desserts. Rice or
soy milk should be boiled with ginger or cinnamon and drunk warm.
SWEETENERS Whole, natural cane sugar, date sugar, fructose, (all in small amounts.) Avoid
prepared sweets like cakes, cookies, chocolate, pies, candy bars, etc.
OILS All, but in small amounts. Ghee is best. Avoid margarine, butter and fried foods.
NUTS & SEEDS In small amounts all nuts and seeds are acceptable except peanuts. Favor
blanched almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds.
SPICES Cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, celery seeds, fenugreek, hing (asafoetida), cinnamon,
cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, black pepper (small amounts), salt, lemon juice, tamarind.
Avoid cayenne, chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, and hot spicy food.
FRUITS Sweet grapes, black grapes, melons, plums, cherries, kiwi, peach, apricot, mango,
papaya, pomegranate, sweet pineapples, berries, sweet oranges, grapefruit. Soak dried fruit in
water before eating: raisins, dates, prunes, and figs. Avoid apples and pears (unless baked or
stewed,) cranberries, guava, banana.
NON-VEGETARIAN If you feel you need non-vegetarian items, favor eggs, chicken or turkey
(not processed), fresh fish or seafood. Also have at midday meal only. "Organic" is preferred.
Pitta Pacifying Diet
Most important principles:
Favor juicy, cooling foods with high water content. Avoid hot spices (chiles, cayenne,
jalepeno peppers, etc.), alcohol, vinegar, fried foods, tomatoes, yogurt and cheese..
Also, food should be fresh and organic if possible. Avoid leftovers, packaged, canned or
bottled foods, processed foods, preservatives, artificial ingredients and salty foods.
An asterisk * after the item means it is especially helpful to favor or to avoid that
Favor the Following Foods
GENERAL Cool to lukewarm drinks according to preference. Favor sweet, bitter, and
GRAINS Wheat, white rice ( basmati, jasmine, etc.) barley, oats, quinoa, kamut, amaranth,
LEGUMES Mung beans, small kidney beans, non-fermented soy bean products (tofu is OK,
avoid tempeh). All others OK in moderation.
VEGETABLES Asparagus, artichokes, yellow squash*, zucchini*, okra, cauliflower, broccoli,
cabbage, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cilantro*, sprouts, lettuce, chard*, brussel
sprouts, parsley, cucumber*, kale*, bok choy*, winter squashes*, sweet corn, all green leafy
vegetables* except spinach.
DAIRY Milk* (boiled and served cool to warm), butter, ghee*, sweet lassi*, cream, panir
(homemade cheese from milk).
SWEETENERS Whole, natural sugar cane (in small amounts,) date sugar.
OILS Ghee* is best. Olive or coconut oils.
NUTS & SEEDS Pumpkin seeds. Blanched almonds in small amounts.
SPICES Coriander*, cilantro*, cumin, turmeric, saffron, fennel*, cardamom, parsley*, fresh
FRUITS Sweet grapes, avocado, sweet mango, coconut, melons*, sweet plums, persimmon,
pomegranate, sweet apples, sweet pears, raisins, dates.
NONVEGETARIAN: Chicken, turkey, egg white.
Reduce the Following Foods
GENERAL Pungent* (hot, spicy), sour and salty tastes. Vinegar*, alcohol* and acidic* foods.
GRAINS Corn, millet, rye, buckwheat, brown rice.
VEGETABLES Tomatoes* and tomato sauce*, radish, onions, carrots, beets, spinach*.
FRUITS Grapefruit*, olives*, orange*, peach, sour grapes*, pineapple*, berries*, prunes,
banana*, lemon*, lime*, cherries. Avoid any sour fruits.
DAIRY Yogurt*, cheese* (especially aged and salty such as feta or blue cheese,) sour cream,
SWEETENERS Molasses, brown sugar, honey.
OILS Almond, corn, safflower, sesame*, canola.
SPICES Chili peppers*, cayenne*, onion, garlic*, mustard seeds*, cloves, celery seeds,
fenugreek, catsup*, mustard*, asafoetida (hing.)*, ginger, black pepper, soy sauce.
NONVEGETARIAN: Seafood, fish, beef*, pork, lamb, egg yolk.
Kapha Pacifying Diet
Most important principles:
Favor warm foods and hot beverages. Eat a minimum of oil and fat. Avoid cold drinks,
cold food, and frozen desserts (such as ice cream, popsicles, frozen yogurt, etc.) Avoid leftovers,
canned, bottled, or packaged foods, frozen foods, processed foods, rich, creamy foods, sweets,
salty foods and alcohol.
Eat mainly freshly prepared vegetable and legume dishes, with proportionately smaller
amounts of grains and fruits. The food should be spiced according to taste.
An asterisk* after the item means it is especially helpful to favor or to avoid that
Favor the Following Foods
GENERAL Lighter diet of less rich foods. Favor dry, light and crunchy foods. Favor pungent
(hot, spicy), bitter and astringent tastes.
GRAINS Barley*, millet, corn, buckwheat, rye, quinoa, cous cous and oats. (All grains should
be a minimum of one year old).
LEGUMES All except tofu.
VEGETABLES All green leafy vegetables*, carrot, beets, white potatoes, artichoke, broccoli*,
corn, celery, tender eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, bell pepper, green beans, sprouts, tender
radish. In small amounts: tomato, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber.
DAIRY Skim milk (boiled and served hot), small amounts of ghee and lassi made of nonfat
yogurt (1part yogurt :4 parts water dilution.)
SWEETENERS Raw honey*.
OILS Mustard, corn, sesame, (all used sparingly.) Ghee in small amounts.
NUTS & SEEDS Small portions of sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, pecans and walnuts.
SPICES All spices except salt; favor hot spices (ginger, black pepper, etc.), lemon juice in
FRUITS Apples, pears, figs, papaya, guava*, pomegranate*, cranberries, persimmon*.
Reduce the Following Foods
GENERAL Avoid large quantities of food*, especially at night. Avoid oily, greasy, cold, heavy
food; sweet, sour and salty tastes.
GRAINS Wheat, rice, all yeasted or sourdough breads*.
LEGUMES Tofu, tempeh, soy or rice cheeses*.
VEGETABLES Sweet potatoes*, tapioca.
FRUITS Strictly avoid avocado*, banana*,
The Divisions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha; The Subdoshas
Just as we saw earlier it wasn't enough just to know we had ama as we wanted to know where we
had the ama. Now our next step with the doshas is to determine where the dosha is imbalanced.
All the doshas have a variety of functions and locations. By determining which function and
location that dosha is imbalanced in we gain greater power in understanding and removing our
Fortunately the Vedic Rishis perception was so acute they were able to see and describe the
different divisions of each of the three doshas. There are five subdivisions of each dosha, each
with a different location and function within the body. For example "prana" Vata controls the
movement of nervous system activity in the brain area. "Apana" Vata controls the downward
flow of elimination in the lower bowel area. Prana and apana vata imbalances are both Vata
imbalances but they clearly will require very different sets of recommendations. So let's look at
the descriptions of the subdoshas and symptoms of their imbalance to see if we can learn more
about the state of balance within us and why we may have the symptoms we have.
• Vata Subdoshas
1) Prana Vata:
*Located in the head, brain, chest
*Upward moving. Enlivens the nervous system, senses, emotion and intellect
* Imbalance created by overwork on computers, mental pressure, lack of oils in the diet, mental
work in the evening
* Imbalance linked to worry, anxiety, asthma, respiratory complaints, tension headaches
2) Udana Vata
* Located in the throat and lungs
* Controls speech. Often blocked and congested during colds.
* Imbalance created by ama building up in chest and neck area, cold drafts on the neck
* Imbalance linked to dry coughs, earaches, speech defects, colds
3) Samana Vata
* Located in the stomach and intestines
* Controls movement of food through the digestive tract and peristalsis
* Imbalance linked to improper digestion poor assimilation
4) Apana Vata
* Located in the colon and lower abdomen
* Downward moving, Responsible for elimination of wastes, sexual function and menstruation.
* Imbalance created by ama in the lower digestive tract, overeating, eating ama creating food,
being too active during the time of menstruation
* Imbalance linked to constipation, diarrhea menstrual disorder and back pain. Apana is the most
common imbalance found in people and is often the source of other imbalanced doshas.
5) Vyana Vata
* Located throughout the body via the nervous system, skin and circulatory system
* Governs the various aspects of circulation
* Imbalance created by excessive thinking and worrying
* Imbalance linked to high blood pressure, irregular heart function and circulation, and stress
• Pitta Subdoshas
1) Pachaka Pitta
* Located in the stomach and small intestine
* Governs digesting of food and separating waste products from nutrients
* Imbalance created by too much bitter, sour hot and salty food, alcohol, excessive fasting
* Imbalance linked to heartburn, ulcers, irregular digestion
2) Ranjaka Pitta
* Located in the red blood cells, liver and spleen
* Regulates blood chemistry, blood cells and distribution of nutrients through the blood stream
* Imbalance created by too much bitter, sour hot and salty food, alcohol, excessive fasting
* Imbalance is linked to toxicity in the body, blood disorders, skin inflammations and anger
3) Sadhaka Pitta
* Located in the heart and in the brain
* Controls the heart’s function, contentment, courage and memory
* Imbalance created by too much bitter, sour hot and salty food, alcohol, excessive fasting
* Imbalance linked to heart disease, emotional upset and indecisiveness
4) Alochaka Pitta
* Located in the eyes
* Associated with good or bad vision and connects eyes with emotions
* Imbalance created by too much bitter, sour hot and salty food, alcohol, excessive fasting
* Imbalance linked to bloodshot eyes, vision and eye problems
5) Bhrajaka Pitta
* Located in the skin
* Controls states of the skin
* Imbalance created by too much bitter, sour hot and salty food, alcohol, excessive fasting
* Imbalance linked to rashes, acne, boils and skin disorders
• Kapha Subdoshas
1) Kledaka Kapha
* Located in the stomach
* Keeps the stomach lining moist and is essential for digestion
* Imbalance created by low liquid intake and excessive dryness or lack of oils in the diet
* Imbalance linked to impaired digestion-usually too heavy and slow
2) Avalambaka Kapha
* Located in the heart, chest and lower back
* Kapha's seat is in the chest so this is an important subdosha
* Imbalance linked to respiratory problems, lethargy and lower back pain
3) Bhodaka Kapha
* located in the tongue
*gives rise to taste
* Imbalance linked to impairment of taste
4) Tarpaka Kapha
* Located in the sinus cavities, head and spinal fluid
*Lubricates and moistens the sense organs and maintains spinal fluid
* Imbalance linked to sinus congestion and dullness of senses
5) Shleshaka Kapha
* Located in the joints
* lubricates the joints
* Imbalance linked to painful joints and joint disease
The following chart provides further information to help you balance a specific subdosha with
daily routine and diet.
controls nervous system and
respiration from the chest
activity in throat and lung
area. imbalanced when we
"get a cold"
mental strain, inadequate
sleep, late bedtime, lack of
oil in diet, too much
ama buildup in chest area,
cold and heavy foods,
bed before 10 PM, TM
technique, unctuous diet,
drinking hot water
throughout the day, using
ginger as a spice, protecting
the head and neck from
drafts, bed before 10PM
irregular eating habits,
fresh wholesome food,
functions in the stomach
eating leftovers, cold drinks, drinking hot water, regular
heavy food in the evening
suppressing urination or
drinking hot water,
controls downward flow of
bowel movements, lack of
wholesome food, regular
elimination in bowel and
eating times, drinking warm
processed food and
water upon awakening,
leftovers, working too hard
during menstrual cycle
excessive thinking and
TM technique, abhyanga,
located throughout body in
worrying, irregular routine
drinking hot water
of life, double-tasking,
throughout the day
excessive bitter, sour and
pure, wholesome and bland
digestion in the stomach
spicy foods, alcohol, fasting foods, sweet juicy fruits, to
and small intestine
bed by 10 PM
excessive bitter, sour and
aloe vera juice, sweet juicy
red blood cells, liver, spleen
spicy foods, alcohol,
fruits, plenty of water, to
vinegar, fermented foods,
bed by 10PM
fasting, inadequate rest
heart and its connection to
the brain, emotions
lubricates the stomach
heart, chest and low back
tongue and taste
lubricates and moistens the
sense organs and maintains
excessive bitter, sour and
spicy foods, alcohol,
fasting, inadequate rest,
anger, violence, skipping
rose petal jam and rose
water in milk, stewed apple,
fresh sweet fruits especially
pears, avoid violent and
negative movies, books,
TV, etc., outdoor exercise in
early AM or evening
TM technique, ghee in the
diet, to bed by 10 PM, avoid
computer work after dark
excessive bitter, sour and
spicy foods, alcohol,
fasting, lack of sleep,
mental pressure and eye
excessive bitter, sour and
early bedtime, yoga asanas,
spicy foods, alcohol,
abhyanga, exercise and
fresh air, plenty of water,
inadequate sleep, excess sun TM technique, factors that
exposure, chlorinated water
create good digestion
dry foods, lack of water,
unctuous diet, resting 10+
lack of oils in diet
minutes after eating, sipping
water with the meal,
properly spiced foods
lack of exercise, excessive
yoga asanas, abhyanga,
sexual activity, lack of oils
drinking hot water
in diet, ama creating food,
throughout the day,
grief, sadness, holding on to
unctuous diet, walking
hurts from the past
outside in the rising sun
dryness, lack of oils in diet,
TM technique, plenty of
water, pure wholesome
foods, plenty of rest
excessive sexual activity,
TM technique, asanas, daily
lack of unctuous food,
oil massage, unctuous food,
fasting, excessive mental
plenty of rest, sipping hot
water throughout the day
fasting, lack of exercise,
daily oil massage, yoga
poor digestion, lack of oils
asanas, unctuous foods,
in diet, eating too heavy at exercise, proper rest, sip hot
night, eating cheese or other
water throughout the day
curds in the evening
The best way to balance the subdoshas in daily life is to (1) do what you know balances the main
dosha with dosha-specific diet and daily routine tips and (2) reduce specific aggravating factors
of that subdosha mentioned in the lists above. Other than this, the main Ayurvedic subdosha
balancing recommendations are specific Ayurvedic herbs that require in-person Ayurvedic pulse
diagnosis and are beyond the scope of this booklet. However, as mentioned previously, the
rasayana Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) is one herbal preparation that balances many
subdoshas at the same time.
Maharishi Ayurveda Herbal Preparations: Amrit Kalash
When the Vedic Rishis went into nature they noticed that certain plants had very pure vibratory
qualities similar to the vibratory intelligence located in and governing different parts of the body.
They experienced the specific vibratory patterns of their own inner intelligence and then saw
these same essential vibrations existed within certain members of the plant kingdom.
The Vedic Rishis also saw that when someone became ill that the real cause was some blockage,
or distortion of these specific, primordial organizing vibrations within the physiology. The Rishis
understood that if they could bathe the physiology in the vibratory pattern that had been
weakened, through ingestion of the proper herb, that it would enliven the specific principle of
biological intelligence containing that same vibration within the body. This was the source of
The doshas, subdoshas and the dhatus are all examples of specific divisions of biological
intelligence, each with its own subtle vibratory quality. Ayurvedic herbs enliven and balance the
doshas, subdoshas and dhatus through the resonance they create within them. It is similar to your
experience in physics class with tuning forks. If you hit a tuning fork of a specific frequency, and
bring it close to another tuning fork of the same frequency, the second one begins to vibrate when
the first one just comes close to it. The first tuning fork bathed the second one in the frequency
its structure was made to create and that initiated the vibration in the previously silent tuning
fork. Likewise Ayurvedic herbs enliven and balance the doshas, subdoshas and dhatus with their
own specific resonance effects.
It is, however, beyond the scope of this booklet to recommend herbs for specific doshas,
subdosha and dhatus. A trained physician should really review the findings from all of your
questionnaires and ideally perform Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis in order to get you the most
accurate herbal recommendations.
Fortunately there is a set of Ayurvedic herbal preparations that are balanced blends of a wide
variety of synergistic herbs that create an overall balancing effects in virtually all individuals.
These special Ayurvedic herbal preparations are called "rasayanas".
Of all the rasayanas the Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) rasayanas are by far the most
universal in their application and beneficial in their effect. This is the herbal recommendation I
would encourage readers of this book to take as their beginning supplement as it has a profound
balancing effect throughout the doshas, subdoshas and dhatus.
There are two formulations that comprise MAK.
1) The Nectar, an herbal concentrate with powerful strengthening and balancing effects
throughout the body, particularly the immune system. There is also a tablet version of this for
individuals who do not tolerate ghee (clarified butter) or sugar.
2) The Ambrosia, a tablet with particularly good effects on brain and mental function.
The most widespread and synergistic effect is gained by taking both formulations daily.
MAK is also a potent free radical scavenger and therefore helps to remove the most aggravating
type of ama. This unique blend of over 40 herbs and fruits has been shown in studies to have
anti-oxidant properties 1,000 times more powerful than vitamin C or E.
For more information or to order you may call 1-800-255-8332 (1-800 All-Veda) or visit
Note: I exclusively recommend Ayurvedic products from MAPI (Maharishi Ayurveda Products
International) due to the authenticity of the formulations, their stringent quality controls and the
purity of their herbs. I have no affiliation, legal or financial, with MAPI and do not receive any
financial compensation for purchase of their herbal products.
Practical Application of Your Ayurvedic Program:
The Steps to Balance
If you have read this far then you are probably ready to articulate our strategy.
1. Live a lifestyle and eat a diet that does not create ama and imbalance.
a) Lifestyle and diet are the starting points of your Ayurvedic program because treatments cannot
overcome lifestyle and dietary mistakes that continually create ama and imbalance day by day.
Keep working on removing the "no" answers from the Lifestyle Questionnaire.
b) Especially focus on eliminating the dietary and lifestyle behaviors that depress digestion and
2. Remove accumulated ama.
Drink your spice water daily! This is such a simple yet powerful way to remove ama
throughout the body and from specific dhatus. This is a very important recommendation!
3. Favor a dosha specific diet if you have a clear dosha imbalance
First target the most aggravating foods for your imbalanced dosha and remove them from your
Then try adding some items from the "Favor" list of the diet for your predominant dosha. If you
have been in the habit of a "meat and potatoes" dinner, try a vegetarian evening meal once or
twice a week and see how much better you feel the next morning.
If you are the "all or nothing" type, try the whole diet as a complete "makeover" and see how well
you feel within one week. The guests at the Raj frequently tell me how much better they felt
even before arriving, simply from a week of the preparatory diet.
4. Take MAK.
MAK Nectar and Ambrosia are the most universally effective herbal preparations in Maharishi
Get moving and stretching! Start now and do more as your fitness improves. Exercise enlivens
your digestion, strengthens the metabolism of impurities, increases bone density and sweats out
toxins. Proper exercise balances and rejuvenates the entire mind/body system. This
recommendation includes the practice of yoga. The main thing is to start and let the positive joy
of movement and experience of better health inspire you to do more.
Note: If you have any diagnosed condition please consult your physician about the amount of
exercise which is healthy for you.
6. The Transcendental Meditation Technique
This really should be recommendation #1. Ayurveda works by strengthening the inner
intelligence of the body. Our mental intelligence interacts more profoundly with nature's
intelligence than our body does. The TM technique is the most powerful, single recommendation
in all of Maharishi Ayurveda. Also because it strengthens and clarifies the mind it helps us gain
the strength to follow all the other recommendations.
Again call 1-888-Learn or go to http://www.tm.org/to locate the center nearest you.
7. Add the other recommendations described in this booklet based on your affinity for
them and the degree to which you think they will help your personal health.
8. Additional Ayurvedic recommendations
Add these recommendations as time and interest allows. There are powerful and valuable
recommendations in this list. In general my experience is that the more people do the better
results they get.
a) aroma therapy:
Use Vata, Pitta or Kapha aroma in a way that matches where your major imbalance is.
b) abhyanga massage oil:
Start with Rejuvenation Oil for Men or Rejuvenation Oil for Women based on you gender
(MAPI: 1-800-all-veda or http://www.mapi.com/). Dilute this oil 50/50 with the following oil
depending on your imbalance.
c) Vedic Sound
There are several types of Vedic Sound available at this time. My personal recommendation is to
listen to Sama Veda recitation. Listen 5-20 minutes as time allows. Sit quietly with the eyes
closed and just enjoy the flow of the sound. Sama Veda recitation has a very integrating influence
on the entire physiology. Sama Veda recitation can be listened to at any time you are NOT
engaged in other activities. You should be sitting quietly with the eyes closed when you listen to
Sama Veda. Do not be working or driving a car when listening to the recitation. Because Sama
Veda is very melodious and soothing it is beneficial to be listened to for 5-10 minutes before
going to bed.
Note: Sama Veda Tapes can be ordered from MUM Press at 1-800-831-6523
d) More herbs
When you look at the MAPI site at http://www.mapi.com/or review their catalog you see a wide
variety of herbal compounds each with a specific effect. I would recommend the first 4 weeks of
your program you just use the Amrit Kalash preparation and then you could add one more herb if
you wished. Pick the preparation that most clearly targets the health area you are interested in. I
would not recommend taking more than these three herbs at one time when using the program in
Conclusion from Dr. Lonsdorf
As you can see by now Ayurvedic knowledge is truly "knowledge for life". Maharishi
Ayurveda provides a working manual for a healthy life. It is also knowledge you will use all your
life. As you make changes, the improved energy, vitality and health you should experience will
inspire you to make even more changes and experience even better health. May you experience
an upward spiral to increased health, joy and success in life.
Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.
Note: To receive Dr. Lonsdorf's FREE monthly newsletter and
announcements of her consultation and seminar tours to your area provide
your e-mail address by clicking here.
Herbalized Oil Massage—Abhyanga
A full body, warm oil massage before showering in the morning is recommended for most
everyone. This daily regimen provides a powerful preventive and rejuvenative effect on the body.
This procedure is an important technique to help reconnect the physiology with its underlying
• Improving circulation in the body. Commonly a part of the body that has become stiff or flabby
has poor circulation and little feeling. Ayurvedic oil massage to these areas can help re-establish
proper circulation and nervous system activity.
• Providing a purifying and cleansing influence to the physiology. When we rub and press the
body we help break up the accumulated deposits of toxins and impurities that have localized in
the tissues. The motion also creates heat and friction and increases the flow of fluids through the
blood and lymph vessels. This helps to cleanse and open these important channels of circulation
• Maintaining the suppleness and youthfulness of the skin. When warm oil is applied to the body,
some of it is absorbed by the skin. Even after showering there remains a softness and suppleness
to the skin. Oil application helps prevent the skin from becoming dry and helps to maintain its
• Creating a stabilizing and balancing effect on Vata. Sesame oil is one of the most balancing of
all substances for Vata. Classic symptoms of Vata imbalance are fatigue and lack of mental
clarity. When the entire body surface area has absorbed Ayurvedic oil and herbs these symptoms
are reduced and there is greater evenness, strength and stability during the day.
• Increasing the secretion of hormones from the skin. These hormones, including growth
hormone and endorphins help confer strength and immunity on the system.
Instructions for abhyanga:
Sesame oil in which herbs have been boiled is the usual abhyanga oil. There are a variety of
excellent herbalized oils available. They are discussed at the end of this appendix.
1) In the morning heat about 1/4 cup of cured oil to slightly above body temperature. The
massage should be done with the open part of the hand rather than with the fingertips. Start by
rubbing the head. Place a small amount of oil on the fingers and palms and begin to massage the
scalp vigorously. Spend proportionately more time on the head than you do on other parts of the
2) Next apply oil gently with the open part of the hand to your face and outer part of your ears.
You do not need to rub these areas vigorously.
3) Rub both the front and back of the neck, and the upper part of the spine.
4) You may want to now apply a small amount of oil to your entire body before proceeding. This
will allow the oil to have maximum amount of time in contact with the body.
5) Next rub your arms. The proper motion is up and down over your long bones and circular
movement over your joints. Massage both arms, including especially the hands and fingers.
6) A very gentle circular motion should be used over your heart. Over the abdomen a gentle,
clockwise, circular motion should be used, following the colon from the right lower part of the
abdomen, moving towards the left lower part of the abdomen.
7) Rub the back and spine. There will be some areas which you may have difficulty reaching.
8) Rub the legs. Like the arms, use an up and down motion over the long bones and a circular
motion over the joints.
9) Finally, rub the top and bottoms of the feet. The feet are considered especially important, thus
proportionately more time should be spent here than on other parts of the body. Use the open part
of your hand and massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.
10) The effects will be significantly greater if you can leave the oil on the body for 15–20
minutes before taking a bath or shower. This is easily done by putting on some light, clothing
and doing things around the house for 15–20 minutes before showering.
Important Additional Points!
1. Use liquid soap to shower after abhyanga to prevent drains from clogging.
2. Buy inexpensive towels to be used to dry off after showering and wash them separately with
extra detergent and oil removing preparations.
3. Dry the towels on lower heat in your dryers to avoid combustion of any remaining oil residue
under intense heat.
Exercise plays an important role in maintaining health. Exercise increases circulation and helps
remove the toxins and impurities that have accumulated in the physiology. These deposits are a
major factor in the breakdown of the resistance of the body. Exercise is a key procedure for
helping the body’s natural internal cleansing processes.
Exercise increases mind-body coordination. Disease occurs when the body loses contact with the
underlying intelligence responsible for its maintenance and repair. Exercise involves the
coordinated activity of body and mind and is a valuable aid in maintaining contact of the
physiology with biological intelligence.
• Quantity: Ayur-Veda recommends exercising to 50% capacity. Fifty percent capacity is usually
when strain begins to appear in the body -breathing through the nose is no longer easy, sweat
begins to appear on the body and it becomes difficult to maintain proper form and focus during
exercise. It is not healthy to go beyond 50% capacity as this stresses the body and its energy will
be needed to be diverted into repairing and re-balancing the effect of straining.
Instead, exercise should energize the physiology, leaving it feeling exhilarated and ready for
work. Exercise should never exhaust the physiology and require extra rest for repair.
• Breathe through the nose while you exercise. The brain and physiology are balanced by
breathing through the nose. If you can no longer breathe through the nose, slow your pace until
nose breathing becomes possible again.
• Do not exercise to the point of sweating heavily or panting for breath. You are going too far if
your heart starts pounding, you are panting and sweating heavily and your muscles start to feel
weak and rubbery. All these things turn on the “fight or flight” systems, and deplete the body’s
reserves — exactly the opposite of the goal of exercise.
1) Loosen up and warm up thoroughly before exercise and warm down properly afterwards. Do
not exercise just before or after a meal, in the hot sun, or in extreme wind or cold.
2) Exercise According to body type:
(See Chapter 3 for an introduction to Vata, Pitta and Kapha)
• Vata: By nature Vata types have the quality of motion and changeability highly enlivened in
their physiology. They need less exercise than the other major body types. They also have more
slender frames and less strong joints and cannot take the pounding of heavy, extended exercise.
Vata types excel at balancing and stretching exercises. Yoga, dance, aerobics, walking, short
hikes and light bicycling are good for them. Half an hour of mild exercise a day is usually
enough. They must be careful not to overexert themselves.
• Pitta: Pitta types have good drive and endurance and can exercise in moderate quantity. They
enjoy challenge and sports that bring a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, like skiing,
hiking and mountain climbing. Water sports, because of their cooling nature, are also good for
• Kapha: Kapha types have a tendency toward heaviness, overweight and dullness, and as a
result need significant quantities of exercise. Also, because Kapha types have strong frames and
joints, they can more easily withstand vigorous and extended exercise. Running, aerobics, and
rowing are good Kapha exercises.
• Exercises for all body types. This set of Ayur-Vedic exercises performed in sequence can be
accomplished by almost anyone regardless of physical constitution. Together these exercises
enhance the link between intelligence and physiology.
1. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)—combines stretching, balancing and calisthenics. (1–6
2. Neuromuscular integration (Yoga Asanas)—A set of gentle yoga positions. (10–15 minutes)
3. Balanced breathing (Pranayama)—a traditional yogic breathing exercise. (5 minutes)
These are ideally performed before the recommended two meditation periods of the day.
Note: Consult experienced instructors for proper practice of asanas and pranayama. We
recommend Maharishi Vedic Schools and Maharishi Vedic Medical Centers in your areas for
instruction. Connect to www.tm.org or call 1-888-Learn-TM for location of a center near you.
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)
2. Raised Arm
3. Hand to foot
7. Cobra Position
5. Mountain Position
6. Eight Limbs Position
8. Mountain Position
no breathing, then...
9. Equestrian Position
10. Hand to Foot Position
11. Raised Arm Position
12. Salutation Position
Normal, restful breathing
1. Sit comfortably in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed with back
erect and eyes closed.
2. Gently cover the right nostril with the inside of the thumb of the right hand.
3. Breathe in comfortably and fully through the left nostril until the lungs are full.
4. When the in-breath naturally stops due to the lungs being full then uncover
the right nostril and cover the left nostril with the ring and middle finger of the
4. Breathe out naturally and fully through the right nostril.
5. Keep the fingers over the left nostril and breathe in comfortably and fully
through the right nostril.
6. When the in-breath naturally stops uncover the left nostril, and cover the
right nostril with your thumb and breath out and in again as before.
7. Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
In summary we breath out and in fully through one nostril and then switch
nostrils when lungs are full and breath out and in fully through the other nostril.
Maharishi Ayurveda for Common Disorders: Insomnia
1. Meditate regularly to release mental and physical tension. When this tension is not resolved
prior to lying down to sleep, it will often unwind at bedtime, causing restlessness, thoughts,
worries or emotions that prevent sleep from coming easily.
2. After getting in bed, assume a comfortable position and don't try to sleep or worry about not
sleeping. Let your mind move freely, just taking it as it comes. This attitude will allow you to
gain as much rest as possible in the period before falling asleep. Just let the natural functioning
of your body and mind bring you whatever experience it will. You are in nature's hands. Just
enjoy resting comfortably and you will fall asleep naturally.
1. Have dinner by 6:00 PM. Eat lightly. Soups, grains or hot cereal are soothing and promote
restful sleep. Eating heavy foods or too late can disturb sleep.
2. Before bed, have a glass of warm milk. You may add raw sugar or honey, cardamom or ginger
3. As a natural aid to sleep you may take one of the following herbal preparations:
A. 1 bag of chamomile tea or 1 teaspoon of leaves brewed in 1 cup of water.
B. 1 teaspoon of gotu kola leaves or 1/4 teaspoon of powder brewed into a tea with 1 cup
C. 2 to 3 threads of saffron heated with 1 cup of milk.
D. 1 large pinch of nutmeg stirred into 1 cup of warm milk.
4. It is helpful to keep your head and feet warm on cold nights. If you are highly sensitive to the
cold, you may wish to use a hot water bottle and wear a cotton night cap for extra warmth.
1. Have some exercise and activity in the fresh air every day. A 20-30 minute walk outdoors is
the minimum exercise required for most people.
2. Avoid using the bedrooom for activities other than sleep, i.e. reading, studying or watching
3. The evening activity should be pleasant and relaxing. Walking for 10-15 minutes is
recommended. Evening TV may overstimulate the mind and should be avoided. Reading or
listening to soft music, particularly Gandharva Veda music, is recommended. 4. Avoid all
focused work including phone calls for at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Sensory input
just before bed should be soothing and relaxing.
5. Vata aroma therapy started in the bedroom before sleep is settling to the mind and nervous
system and promotes restful sleep.
6. Go to bed at the same time every night. Turning your light out by 9:30 PM is highly
recommended if you are having difficulty falling asleep.
7. Massage the head and feet lightly with sesame or coconut oil or your Ayurvedic massage oil
before retiring. This relaxes and quiets the mind. A full body Ayur-Vedic oil massage (with
light pressure only) followed by a warm tub bath before bed may also be done, if desired.
Maharishi Ayurveda for Common Disorders: Cold & Cough
1. First principle is to KEEP WARM. Especially, keep your head and neck protected from cold
winds and drafts.
2. Eat and drink WARM foods and liquids only. Have at least a few swallows, or more
according to your thirst, of plain hot water every half hour throughout the day.
3. Eat lightly, meaning a bit less than you normally do. Avoid rich, fatty, or oily foods at this
time. Have less dairy in your diet.
For one day, eat a liquid diet. Vegetables, fruits, soups, grains, dahl, etc, may be included, but
should be liquified in blender first.
4. Get extra sleep and more rest. If possible, take a day or two off from work. You will find that
your symptoms disappear much more quickly.
5. Take 1 teaspoon of the following mixture 2-3 times per day:
1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, before meals, preferably.
6. Drink 1-2 glasses of licorice root tea, vata tea, or kapha tea daily.
7. Take "Protection Plus" sinuses if it is congestion in the head area and take "Protection Plus"
respiratory if it appears it is going into the chest. Keep a bottle of each and take according to
directions on the bottle when you start coming down with a cold.
8. Use Kapha aroma oil when congested.
9. Add several drops of eucalyptus oil to water which is boiling but just taken off the stove.
Breathe in the steam 5-10 minutes at a time for 2-3 days.
10. If you have a temperature of greater than 101 degrees, chest pain, a cough productive of
yellow or green sputum, or a severe or persistent sore throat, you should see your physician for
Additional Sore Throat Recommendations
1. Gargle with sesame oil two to three times a day. (first gargle with warm water for 30 seconds
then gargle with sesame oil for 3-5 minutes. Then gargle with warm water.
1. Eat lightly.
2. Avoid all fried foods, meats, eggs, rice, sour things.
3. Take ginger tea twice a day.
Products mentioned above are available at MAPI 1-800-all-veda, http://www.mapi.com/.
Maharishi Ayurveda for Common Disorders: Weight Loss
After caring for many hundreds of people with weight issues, I have found the following 5 health practices to be the
most universally important for weight management. Although different people have weight problems for different
reason, these 5 tips address fundamental lifestyle habits that affect virtually everyone. The really good news is that
these 5 powerful tips are easy to implement and can bring about great changes in your life and health once in place.
Point 1. Eat a light evening meal with easy-to-digest foods.
Everyone dealing with weight loss issues needs to know that it is virtually impossible to make serious progress
if you continue to eat large evening meals with heavy foods!
I cannot emphasize this point too much. Ayurveda describes that digestion is less strong in the evening, plus lying
down to sleep a few hours later further slows down digestion, metabolism and circulation. The body simply cannot
assimilate large evening meals properly. The result is that much of the food is digested poorly and eventually creates
toxins, fat and excess weight. For most people using the approaches of eating less during the day, herbs, pills,
special powders and drinks, and even exercise cannot overcome this most serious of all weight loss mistakes.
Especially avoid in the evening: cheese, yogurt, rich desserts, red meat, leftovers of any kind, cold foods, processed
Avoid or reduce in evening meals: fowl, fish, desserts
Evening meals should be vegetarian, hot, light and liquidy. If you are significantly overweight the foundation of
the evening meal should be 1) non-cream soups, 2) grains cooked in water (for example rice, quinoa, cous cous,
barley), and 3) vegetables either steamed, roasted or sauteed with small amounts of extra virgin olive oil. If you must
have dessert, I recommend cooked fruit desserts made with only small amounts of organic sugar.
2. Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch with a wide variety of warm,
Lunch is the time our bodies can best digest and properly assimilate larger quantities of food due to the fact that
digestion is strongest at noon and we have many active hours to metabolize the food before we sleep. Lunch is the
most important meal of the day and the meal we most need to plan and prepare for.
Lunch should be warm, cooked foods with a wide variety of tastes and dishes. Warm food is essential as it can be
more easily digested and assimilated. Cold foods suppress digestion (remember your chemistry- cold temperature
suppresses chemical reaction, and digestion is chemistry!) The result of regular meals of cold foods is indigestion,
the accumulation of ama (undigested molecules that clog the channels,) and weight gain.
Having a wide variety of foods is essential for nutrition and to prevent the body from developing food cravings-the
downfall of many a well-meaning diet plan. Food cravings often occur because of imbalanced diets that included
only a few food types. Diets restricted to mostly carbohydrates or protein or fat eventually lead to undernourished
tissues that rightfully send hunger messages to our brain. Even though we have just finished eating a large quantity of
food, parts of our body are still truly malnourished and hungry. Unfortunately if we don’t realize this when the
hunger signals come we may reach for even more carbohydrate rich and dense foods like desserts when actually we
need green vegetables and legume soups.
A good, balanced lunch also helps us feel less hungry in the evening, making it easier to stick to that all-important
light evening meal.
3. Drink hot water frequently throughout the day
By sipping hot water throughout the day you help cleanse the digestive tract and entire body of blockages and
impurities. Hot water drinking improves digestion and assimilation of food and helps prevent the body from
becoming toxic and clogged. It also is a great aid in reducing food cravings between meals. I have known people
who lost over 50 pounds by following only this single recommendation.
Most people can accomplish the hot water recommendation by getting a good thermos and having a cup sitting on a
small cup-sized hot plate. You can pour your hot water in the cup, put it on the warmer and sip it throughout the day
as you work.
The most purifying and cleansing water is water that has been boiled for about ten minutes. Boiling water for ten
minutes reduces its heaviness (you will usually see a fine powder at the bottom of the pan that consists of
precipitated materials from the water) and energizes the water. Drinking water from your hot water dispenser at work
is better than not drinking any at all, but is not as effective as boiled water.
4. Avoid leftovers
Maharishi Ayurveda holds that putting food back in the refrigerator after it has been cooked seriously deteriorates
the quality of the foods and their digestibility. Even if you heat it up after you take it out of the refrigerator, it has lost
its life giving freshness.
We get more than molecules from food. We also get freshness, life force (prana) and nature’s intelligence from our
foods. Physics tells us there is a classical world of molecules but also a quantum mechanical world of vibration. The
vibration of the deeper fields which comprise nature’s life-force and intelligence get destroyed by cooling cooked
food. As a result leftovers easily lead to improperly digested waste products called “ama” that accumulate in the
body causing toxins, blockages, excessive weight gain and lead to many diseases.
The converse principle sums up the essence of Ayurvedic food guidelines.
“Eat fresh food, freshly prepared”
Because of the activity of our lives, and logistics of shopping and cooking, this simple statement can be difficult to
achieve but every step in this direction will help us with weight management and overall good health.
A convenient way to get a home-cooked, nearly fresh meal of pure, wholesome ingredients for lunch each day, is to
cook barley and lentils (a good fat-busting combination) overnight in a crock pot. In the morning, add chopped
vegetables and some spices sautéed in olive oil (try cumin, black pepper, fresh ginger root, coriander and turmeric.)
Put in a wide-mouth thermos and bring for lunch. Add some rye crackers (another fat busting grain according to
Ayurveda,) and fresh fruit for a well-balanced, pure and nutritious lunch.
5. Get Moving!
I saw a headline in a health paper some time ago that made a good point “Stop Dieting and Start Moving”
Exercise is an antidote for almost everything that ails us. It improves digestion, metabolism, elimination,
complexion, body tone and strength, bone density, and helps us normalize weight. It is also emotionally positive as it
can be enjoyable, increase self-worth and bring us greater energy, freshness and success throughout the day.
At least take time every day to get out and walk. Evaluate your schedule and take walks whenever you can squeeze
them in. Be vigilant to take opportunities to walk. It is especially good to walk after meals and especially healthy to
take a walk after the evening meal.
a) Go to bed by 10:00 PM. Metabolism of waste products takes place after 10 PM and is reduced by being awake
and active, or eating the proverbial “midnight snack,” at this time
b) Add digestive enhancing, fat-busting spices to your meals like fresh ginger, cumin, black pepper, turmeric and
c) Keep GOOD snacks around to prevent you eating bad snacks. Examples of good snacks are fresh fruits, dried
fruits, nuts, fresh squeezed vegetable juices and whole grain crackers.
d) Practice meditation and yoga daily to keep mind and body balanced reduce the mental cravings for food.
(Based on hundreds of scientific studies documenting its health benefits, I recommend the TM technique for my
e) Take a walk in the morning. Exercise of some type outdoors in the morning sun has a powerful positive
influence on mind, emotions and energy throughout the day.
f) Take Panchakarma treatments twice a year. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends panchakarma (the massage,
heat treatments and internal cleansing therapies of Ayurveda) be done twice a year to prevent impurities from
accumulating and eliminating their buildup in bodily tissues. (A recent study published in Alternative Therapies in
Health and Medicine documented the reduction by 50% of the cancer causing chemical PCB in the blood after five
days of Maharishi Rejuvenation Treatment, a specific program of panchakarma.)
g) Ingest mainly organic extra virgin olive oil. Organic ghee is also acceptable in small quantities (1-2 tsp. per
day)or not at all if you are overweight and/or have high cholesterol. Avoid any non-organic vegetable oils especially
corn and soy oil. Oils are perhaps the most important food group to get right, as impure oils can contribute to so
many diseases if not used properly
Health is won or lost in how we live day-to-day life. I encourage everyone with weight management issues to take
initiative and get on an upward spiral of healthy activity. Your quick reward will be greater freshness, happiness and
a lighter, healthier body.
Note: This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat disease. Please consult your
physician regarding any symptoms you have or before you make changes in lifestyle and diet.
The Maharishi Ayurveda Approach to Beauty and Skin Care
The Three Pillars of Beauty
Maharishi Ayurveda (MAV), the modern, consciousness-based revival of the ancient Ayurvedic
medicine tradition, considers true beauty to be supported by three pillars; Outer Beauty, Inner
Beauty and Lasting Beauty. Only by enhancing all three can we attain the balanced state of
radiant health that makes each of us the most fulfilled and beautiful person we can be.
Outer Beauty: Roopam
The outer signs of beauty - your skin, hair and nails - are more than just superficial measures of
beauty. They are direct reflections of your overall health. These outer tissues are created by the
inner physiological processes involved in digestion, metabolism and proper tissue development.
Outer beauty depends more on the strength of your digestion and metabolism, the quality of your
diet, and the purity of your blood, than on external cleansers and conditioners you may apply.
General Recommendations for Outer Beauty
As we will discuss, the key to skin care is matching your diet and skin care routine to the specific
skin type you have. Meanwhile, there are some valuable recommendations for lustrous skin, hair
and nails that will be helpful to everyone, regardless of skin type.
1. Diet: Without adequate nourishment, your collagen layer thins and a kind of wasting takes
place. Over time, your skin can shrivel up like a plant without water from lack of nourishment.
To keep your skin plump and glowing:
A. Eat fresh, whole organic foods that are freshly prepared.
Avoid packaged, canned, frozen, processed foods and leftovers. These foods have little
nutritional value and also they are often poorly digested which creates impurities that localize in
the skin. The resulting buildup of toxins causes irritation and blocks circulation depriving the
skin of further nourishment and natural cleansing processes.
B. Favor skin nourishing foods.
1. Leafy green vegetables contain vitamins, minerals (especially iron and calcium) and are high
in antioxidant properties. They nourish the skin and protect it from premature aging.
2. Sweet juicy fruits like grapes, melons, pears, plums and stewed apples at breakfast are
excellent for the skin in almost everyone.
3. Eat a wide variety of grains over different meals and try mixed grain servings at breakfast
and lunch. Add amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, millet and barley to the wheat and rice you already
4. Favor light, easy to digest proteins like legume soups (especially yellow split mung dhal),
whole milk, paneer (cheese made from boiling milk, adding lemon and straining solids) and lassi
(diluted yogurt and spice drinks).
5. Oils like ghee (clarified butter) and organic, extra virgin olive oil should be included in the
diet as they lubricate, nourish and create lustre in the skin.
6. Use spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper to improve digestion, nourish
the skin and cleanse it of impurities.
7. Avoid microwaving and boiling your vegetables. They lose as much as 85% of their
antioxidant content when cooked in this way. Steaming and sautéing are best.
Caring for outer beauty through knowledge of skin type
Besides these general recommendations the key to Outer Beauty is to understand the difference in
skin types so you can gain the maximum benefit from your individualized skin care regimen.
MAV identifies three different skin types based on which of the three main metabolic principles
(doshas)- present in everyone, but to different degrees- is most dominant in your body.
* Description: Vata is composed of the elements of air and space. If you have a vata skin type,
your skin will be dry, thin, fine pored, delicate and cool to the touch. When balanced, it glows
with a delicate lightness and refinement that is elegant and attractive. When vata skin is
imbalanced, it will be prone to excessive dryness and may even be rough and flaky.
* Potential problems: The greatest beauty challenge for vata skin is its predisposition to
symptoms of early aging. Your skin may tend to develop wrinkles earlier than most due to its
tendency to dryness and thinness. If your digestion is not in balance, your skin can begin to look
dull and grayish, even in your 20’s and 30’s. In addition, your skin may have a tendency for
disorders such as dry eczema and skin fungus. Mental stress, such as worry, fear and lack of
sleep, has a powerful debilitating effect on vata skin leaving it looking tired and lifeless.
* Recommendations for care
With a little knowledge, you can preserve and protect the delicate beauty of your vata type skin.
Since your skin does not contain much moisture, preventing it from drying is the major
consideration. Eat a warm, unctuous diet (ghee and olive oil are best) and favor sour, salty and
sweet tastes (naturally sweet like fruits, not refined sugar) as they balance vata. Avoid drying
foods like crackers. Drink 6-8 glasses of warm (not cold for vata types!) water throughout the day
and eat plenty of sweet, juicy fruits. Going to bed early (before 10 PM) is very soothing to vata
and will have a tremendously positive influence on your skin. Avoid cleansing products that dry
the skin (like alcohol-based cleansers) and perform Ayurvedic oil massage to your whole body
(abhyanga) in the morning before you shower.
* Description: Pitta dosha is composed of the elements of fire and water. If you have a pitta skin
type your skin is fair, soft, warm and of medium thickness. When balanced, your skin has a
beautiful, slightly rosy or golden glow, as if illuminated from within. Your hair typically is fine
and straight, and is usually red, sandy or blonde in color. Your complexion tends toward the pink
or reddish, and there is often a copious amount of freckles or moles.
* Potential problems: Among the many beauty challenges of pitta skin types is your tendency to
develop rashes, rosacea, acne, liver spots or pigment disorders. Because of the large proportion of
the fire element in your constitution, your skin does not tolerate heat or sun very well. Of all the
three skin types, pitta skin has the least tolerance for the sun, is photosensitive, and most likely to
accumulate sun damage over the years. Pitta skin is aggravated by emotional stress, especially
suppressed anger, frustration, or resentment.
* Recommendations for care
Avoid excessive sunlight, tanning treatments and highly heating therapies like facial or whole
body steams. Avoid hot, spicy foods and favor astringent, bitter and sweet foods which balance
pitta. (Again, naturally sweet, not chocolate and refined sugar!) Sweet juicy fruits (especially
melons and pears), cooked greens and rose petal preserves are especially good. Drinking plenty
of water helps wash impurities from sensitive pitta skin. Reduce external or internal contact with
synthetic chemicals, to which your skin is especially prone to react, even in a delayed fashion
after years of seemingly uneventful use. Avoid skin products that are abrasive, heating or contain
artificial colors or preservatives. Most commercial make-up brands should be avoided in favor of
strictly 100% natural ingredient cosmetics. And be sure to get your emotional stress under
control through plenty of outdoor exercise, yoga and meditation.
* Description: Kapha dosha is composed of the elements of earth and water. If you have a kapha
skin type your skin is thick, oily, soft and cool to the touch. Your complexion is a glowing
porcelain whitish color, like the moon, and hair characteristically thick, wavy, oily and dark.
Kapha skin types, with their more generous collagen and connective tissue, are fortunate to
develop wrinkles much later in life than vata or pitta types.
*Potential problems If your skin becomes imbalanced, it can show up as enlarged pores,
excessively oily skin, moist types of eczema, blackheads, acne or pimples, and water retention.
Kapha skin is also more prone to fungal infections.
* Recommendations for care
Kapha skin is more prone to clogging and needs more cleansing than other skin types. Be careful
to avoid greasy, clogging creams. Likewise, avoid heavy, hard to digest foods like fried foods,
fatty meats, cheeses and rich desserts. Eat more light, easy to digest, astringent, bitter and
pungent (well-spiced) foods as they balance kapha. Olive oil is the best cooking oil and a little
ginger and lime juice can be taken before meals to increase your characteristically sluggish
digestive fire. Take warm baths often and use gentle cleansers to open the skin pores. Avoid
getting constipated and try to get some exercise every day to increase circulation and help purify
the skin through the sweating process.
Inner Beauty: Gunam.
Happy, positive, loving, caring individuals have a special beauty that is far more than skin deep.
Conversely we all experience the quick and deleterious effect on our skin from fatigue and stress.
Inner beauty is authentic beauty, not the kind that shows on a made-up face, but the kind that
shines through from your soul, your consciousness or inner state of being. Inner beauty comes
from a mind and heart that are in harmony, not at odds with each other, causing emotional
confusion, loss of confidence, stress and worry. Inner peace is the foundation of outer beauty.
Maintain your self-confidence and a warm, loving personality by paying attention to your
lifestyle and daily routine and effective management of stress (I highly recommend the TM
technique for its scientifically-verified benefits on mental and physical health and reduced aging.)
You will also be healthier and feel better through the day if you eat your main meal at midday
and make a habit of going to bed early (by 10 PM is ideal.)
Remember, kindness, friendliness and sincerity naturally attract people to you. On the other hand,
being uptight or tense makes people want to walk the other way, regardless of your facial
structure, body weight, or other outer signs we associate with attractiveness.
Lasting Beauty: Yayastyag
In order to slow the aging process and gain lasting beauty there are two additional key
considerations beyond those already discussed,
1. Eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body: The main deteriorating effects of aging come
as toxins and impurities (called ama in Ayurveda) accumulate throughout the body. These toxins
may begin as free radicals in the body, or over time may become oxidized into free radicals, all of
which contribute to premature aging in the body. For lasting health and beauty it is essential to
avoid and neutralize free radicals, to prevent impurities of all kinds from accumulating and to
remove those that have already become lodged in the body.
The most powerful cleansing therapy in Maharishi Ayurveda is "panchakarma" therapy, a series
of natural treatments ideally performed twice yearly, that involves 5-7 days in a row of massage,
heat treatments and mild herbal enemas. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of undergoing this
cleansing program once or twice a year to prevent impurities from accumulating, localizing and
hardening in the tissues. Just as we change the oil in our cars regularly for optimal performance
and lifespan, Ayurveda recommends that we cleanse the “sludge” from our tissues on a regular
basis through panchakarma treatments.
Best of all, panchakarma treatments are luxurious, blissful, and make you feel (and look)
completely rejuvenated in just a few days time. I have had many a patient who told me that
friends asked them afterwards if they had gotten a facelift, they looked so fresh and youthful!
Other free radical busters include: reducing mental stress, eating antioxidant foods like leafy
green vegetables, sweet, juicy fruits and cooking on a daily basis with antioxidant, detoxifying
spices like turmeric and coriander.
2. Add rejuvenative techniques to daily living:
The daily activities of life in the modern world systematically wear us down and speed up the
aging process. Ayurveda maintains it is crucial to practice daily rejuvenative regimens to
counteract the stressful wear and tear of everyday life. According to Ayurveda the most important
rejuvenative routines for your life are:
a) Going to bed by 10:00 PM. This simple habit is one of the most powerful techniques for
health and longevity, according to MAV.
b) Meditate daily. Any meditation that does not involve concentration (which has been shown to
increase anxiety) can be very helpful. I highly recommend the twice-daily deep rest and
enlivenment of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, whose benefits have been
verified by over 700 published research studies.
c) Eat organic, whole fresh food that is freshly prepared. There is an Ayurvedic saying:
"Without proper diet. medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need." Be sure to
avoid those leftovers, processed and microwaved foods for better nutrition and vitality.
d) Perform Ayurvedic oil massage in the morning (abhyanga). Morning oil massage purifies
the entire body, reduces anxiety and stress, helps prevent and heal injuries and supports